The Answer Sheet: How Three Schools Creatively Face the Challenge of Educating Immigrant Students May 10th

The Answer Sheet: How Three Schools Creatively Face the Challenge of Educating Immigrant Students

– nepc.colorado.edu/blog

The Answer Sheet: How Three Schools Creatively Face the Challenge of Educating Immigrant Students

(This is the tenth in a series of posts about schools named as winners in the 2015-2016 Schools of Opportunity project. There are links to all at the bottom of this post.)
 
If you have paid attention to the school reform debate in recent years, you would be forgiven for thinking that public schools across the board are failing students and that schools that are struggling can only improve if they fire all of their staff, become a charter school or let the state take them over. It’s not so.
This is clear in a project called the Schools of Opportunity, launched a few years ago by educators who sought to highlight public high schools that actively seek to close opportunity gaps through research-proven practices and not standardized test scores (which are more a measure of socioeconomic status than anything else).
The project assesses how well schools provide health and psychological support for students, judicious and fair discipline policies, high-quality teacher mentoring programs, outreach to the community, effective student and faculty support systems, and broad and enriched curriculum. Schools submit applications explaining why they believe their school should be recognized.
The project started in 2014 as a pilot program in New York and Colorado, and went national in 2015-2016, with gold and silver winners coming from states including Maryland, Georgia, California and Oregon. It is the brainchild of Kevin Welner, director of the National Education Policy Center at the University of Colorado at Boulder and a professor specializing in educational policy and law; and Carol Burris, a former award-winning principal in New York who is now executive director of the nonprofit Network for Public Education. Welner was just awarded with the 2017 American Educational Research Association’s Outstanding Public Communication of Education Research Award, an honor that awards scholars for communicating important education research to the public.
Twenty schools were named as honorees for the 2015-16 school year — eight gold winners and 12 silver — and you can see the list here. It is important to note that each school found success in ways that met the needs of their own communities. Here’s a post on a few of the silver winners.
High schools interested in being part of the 2016-17 Schools of Opportunity can apply here through May 15.
 
By Kevin Welner
Students with special needs are often thought of as having less ability, being too disruptive, or being too difficult to teach. These beliefs present a clear obstacle to an asset-based approach that challenges and supports these students in achieving academic success.
The U.S. Supreme Court, in the Endrew F case, recently held that “every child,” including those with disabilities, “should have the chance to meet challenging objectives.” Students’ Individual Education Programs (IEPs) should be “reasonably calculated to enable a child to make progress appropriate in light of the child’s circumstances.”
Similarly, closing the opportunity gap for language-minority students must begin by approaching these students as emerging bilinguals and building on the language strengths they bring to school.
As described below, three of our Silver Schools of Opportunity this past year demonstrate how curriculum and instruction can meet the needs of diverse student populations. Oakland International High School, Ossining High School and Washington Technology Magnet School all have closed opportunity gaps by thoughtfully embracing their students and their communities.
Schools interested in applying for recognition this year can apply online any time before May 15th.

(Photo from Oakland International High School)
High School: Oakland International High School
City and State: Oakland, CA
Principals:  Carmelita Reyes & Veronica Garcia Montejano
Superintendent: Devin Dillon
Enrollment: 400
Economically disadvantaged students: 96 percent 
Oakland International High School (OIHS) is the first high school in Oakland designed to meet the needs of newly arrived immigrants. It’s a small public high school created in 2007, and all of the students at OIHS are English Language Learners who have immigrated to the United States within the last four years.
Every student’s culture and first language is valued at OIHS, as demonstrated by the school’s tradition of holding what are called Community Walks. Each October, groups of students lead teachers through their communities, introducing them to the places, the agencies, and the people in their lives outside of school.
A typical walk includes a visit to a significant community establishment, such as a legal aid clinic or a community garden, followed by a big feast at a local restaurant or in a family’s home. Students teach adults how to say phrases and words in their languages. Adults are able to learn more about why and how their students arrived in Oakland and about the challenges and strengths of their communities in the Bay Area.
The Community Walks are a highlight of the year for both adults and students, bringing them closer together by putting students in leadership positions and breaking down the walls between the school and the community.
OIHS views its students’ diversity as a strength, not a weakness. For enriching students’ learning opportunities by creating a welcoming community, the National Education Policy Center is pleased to recognize Oakland International High School as a School of Opportunity.

(Photo provided by Ossining High Scho0l)
 
High School: Ossining High School
City and State: Ossining, NY          
Principal:  Joshua Mandel
Superintendent: Raymond Sanchez
Enrollment: 1,468
Economically disadvantaged students: 51 percent 
Ossining High School (OHS) also strives to eliminate barriers to success for its diverse student body. The school offers an array of innovative programming and comprehensive course offerings, but its programs for students with disabilities and for language-minority students stand out as exemplifying the school’s commitment to providing rich opportunities for all its students.
Consistent with the recent Supreme Court decision, the program at OHS for students with disabilities is academically challenging and very supportive. It carefully fosters an atmosphere where every student, regardless of ability, is encouraged to acquire the skills necessary to become an independent, lifelong learner.
For example, 83 percent of Ossining’s special education students are placed in either mainstream classes with additional resource room support or in “inclusion” classes co-taught by content and special education teachers. Regardless of the content area or placement on the service continuum, instruction is geared toward meeting the rigorous state standards required for graduation.
Ossining High School also provides culturally responsive pathways for its emerging bilingual students. In the Integrated Co-Teaching Model, an English as a New Language Teacher and a content area teacher co-plan, co-teach, and co-assess students as they fully participate in classes with native English speakers.
Additionally, the school’s Emergent Literacy Program provides accelerated instruction that integrates literacy and content learning for students with low literacy skills or interrupted formal education. For students 18-21 years old, a special program at OHS provides Spanish instruction of general academic subjects so that students can pass the TASC (former GED) exam for graduation.
For ensuring that all students receive the support they need to learn, NEPC recognizes Ossining High School as a School of Opportunity.

(Photo provided by Washington Technology Magnet School)
 
High School: Washington Technology Magnet School
City and State: St. Paul, MN           
Principal:  Mike McCollor
Superintendent: John Thein
Enrollment: 2,077 (grades 6-12)
Economically disadvantaged students: 93 percent 
Washington Technology Magnet School, located in St. Paul, Minnesota, is a comprehensive magnet secondary school with a science, mathematics and technology focus. Washington Technology has a uniquely diverse student body, with significant Karen and Hmong populations from Southeast Asia, among others.
Fifty-nine percent of Washington Technology students are English Language Learners. The school uses a co-teaching model, with both English Language and content teachers providing these students with the instruction that they need. In fact, many students who attend Washington Technology had no formal schooling before arriving in the United States as teenagers. These students work towards content mastery and graduation until they reach the age of 21.
While Washington Technology works to help students become proficient in English, students’ native cultures and languages are supported and valued. All students have the opportunity to enroll in Hmong and Karen language and culture classes, and a Hmong dance class is also available during the extended school day. Washington Technology encourages parental involvement, so both Karen and Hmong parent groups are available as well as a six-week “parent academy” held each fall in several languages.
Washington Technology Magnet School exemplifies a school that values its students’ cultural and language backgrounds while providing the support students need to succeed academically. As such, Washington Technology Magnet School highly deserves its recognition as a School of Opportunity.

Here are earlier stories about this year’s winning Schools of Opportunity:
[Academics are only part of the education this school offers its diverse student body] 
[Curriculum matters: How these four schools engage all students in learning] 
[This school isn’t just about academics. The emotional and physical health of kids matters too.] 
[To help kids succeed, this rural school gets help from unusual sources. Dentists, for example.] 
[This high-poverty school succeeds by focusing on adventure, the arts and project-based learning] 
[How one school created a ‘safe, comfortable place’ for students and teachers] 
[This school was on the brink of closure. Here’s how it saved itself.] 
[Most students here are refugees — and they speak 16 uncommon languages. How this school makes it work.] 
[Why this high school works: ‘We are in a perpetual state of improvement’]

elaine
May 9, 2017

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The Answer Sheet

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The Answer Sheet: How Three Schools Creatively Face the Challenge of Educating Immigrant Studentsnepc.colorado.edu/blog

 

Radical Eyes for Equity: Think Tank Advocacy Reports Not Credible for Education Policy: SC Edition May 1st

Radical Eyes for Equity: Think Tank Advocacy Reports Not Credible for Education Policy: SC Edition

– nepc.colorado.edu/blog

Radical Eyes for Equity: Think Tank Advocacy Reports Not Credible for Education Policy: SC Edition

The Palmetto Promise Institute‘s report authored by Adam Crain, Money doesn’t translate into student results, is a follow-up to their 2013 report also comparing South Carolina education to Florida education reform.
Although this report offers several charts detailing an analysis of SC and FL National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) tests data (some of which is aggregated by race, disabilities, and poverty, but focusing on 4th grade reading), the report proves to be overly simplisticand an incomplete picture of student achievement in both states—with the ham-fisted data analysis serving as a thin veneer for advocacy unsupported by valid research and a more nuanced analysis of data.
In short, this report proves to be significantly inadequate evidence to support the ideologically-driven recommendations offered at the end—recommendations this conservative think tank would make regardless of the evidence (mostly a mishmash of school choice policy). There simply is no credible link between the shallow analysis of SC/FL NAEP scores and the call for policy as solutions to the manufactured problems.
Let me outline here both the flaws of the data analysis and then the folly of the recommendations.
The foundational flaw of both reports is suggesting some sort of value in comparing SC to FL and the persistent but discredited claim that FL has successful education reform. In fact, the so-called Florida “miracle” has been strongly refuted, notably its grade-retention policy based on high-stakes test scores.
By comparison, SC is slightly more impoverished than FL, and SC (27%) has a higher percentage than FL (16%) of blacks (both metrics used in the report analysis). However, this report from PPI makes no effort to show how their raw comparisons are actually apples-to-apples, or valid.
Another analysis of NAEP data that adjusts for factors impacting test scores reveals a much more nuanced and important picture, one that exposes a huge flaw with the FL model of reform [1] and depending on test data.
While adjusted trend data on NAEP continues to show 4th grade FL reading scores better than SC scores, by 8th grade (see Table 6B1, 2013 data) SC (269.5) and FL (272.3) have nearly identical adjusted scores.
Here is a key point about FL’s retention policy: Retaining students can inflate short-term test data, but those gains erode over time. Further, grade retention [2] maintains a strong correlation with students dropping out of school and an inverse correlation with students receiving a diploma (see Jasper, 2016 [3]).
Ultimately, the data analysis and charts in this report are overly simplistic on purpose because PPI has an agenda: argue against increased school funding and promote school choice.
The report uses bold face, lazy math, and insufficient statistical methods to dramatize a baseless claim: “Simple funding comparisons indicate quite the opposite. Over the twelve year period between 1999 and 2011, South Carolina spent a total of $6,920 more per student, or an average of $692 per year.”
Without proper statistical analysis, using controls and making causal claims, this raw data approach, like the NAEP analysis, means almost nothing.
The body of educational research, in fact, shows that funding does matter (see Baker, 2016) [4].
Both, then, the NAEP analysis and the related argument that SC school funding is somehow excessive/wasteful are statistically inadequate and useless for making the recommendations at the end of the report.
Those recommendations fall into two broad categories: accountability and school choice.
SC and FL jumped on the accountability bandwagon early, about three decades ago, and remain completely unsatisfied with their educational outcomes, despite huge amounts of tax dollars and immeasurable time spent on ever-new standards and ever-new high-stakes tests.
Calling for accountability ignores the research base that shows accountability based on standards and testing has failed, will continue to fail:
There is, for example, no evidence that states within the U.S. score higher or lower on the NAEP based on the rigor of their state standards. Similarly, international test data show no pronounced tests core advantage on the basis of the presence or absence of national standards. Further, the wave of high-stakes testing associated with No Child Left Behind (NCLB) has resulted in the “dumbing down” and narrowing of the curriculum….
As the absence or presence of rigorous or national standards says nothing about equity, educational quality, or the provision of adequate educational services, there is no reason to expect CCSS or any other standards initiative to be an effective educational reform by itself. (Mathis, 2012)

The evidence on school choice also contradicts the report because choice fails to increase student achievement, but it is strongly associated with increasing segregation and inequity (see here and here).
Let’s summarize the major points of the report:
The report claims SC lags FL in academic achievement and education reform while spending more per pupil. However, the analysis offered here is an incomplete picture and statistically flawed. None of the claims made in the report are proven, and more nuanced and longitudinal analyses of NAEP greatly erode the premise of PPI’s report (grounded also in the debunked Florida “miracle” claim).
The report’s major recommendations about school funding, accountability, and school choice are all strongly contradicted by the research base, which the report fails to acknowledge.
Ultimately, as a colleague responded when I shared this report, PPI has published “a five page Op-Ed with bar graphs,” and I would add, not a very good one at that.
SC should in no way be influenced by this report when making education policy.
However, SC should heed a kernel the report’s conclusion: “The disparity between the stewardship of resources in Florida and our struggling education system in South Carolina is apparent.”
As I have detailed, while most educational rankings and comparisons prove to be hokum, what evidence from our schools and reform policies shows is that SC ranks first in political negligence.
Ironically, this report is calling for more negligence in the pursuit of market ideology.
[1] See evidence discrediting Florida “miracle” and FL’s reading policy; how SC could benefit from looking at Oklahoma, not FL; and why FL reform is harmful for students and literacy.
[2] See the National Council of Teachers of English’s Resolution on Mandatory Grade Retention and High-Stakes Testing:
Grade retention, the practice of holding students back to repeat a grade, does more harm than good:
retaining students who have not met proficiency levels with the intent of repeating instruction is punitive, socially inappropriate, and educationally ineffective;
basing retention on high-stakes tests will disproportionately and negatively impact children of color, impoverished children, English Language Learners, and special needs students; and
retaining students is strongly correlated with behavior problems and increased drop-out rates.

[3] Jasper’s abstract captures the ultimate failure of FL’s reform:
In 2003-2004 approximately 23,000 third graders were retained in Florida under the third grade retention mandate outlined in the A+ Plan. Researchers in previous studies found students who were retained faced difficulty in catching up to their peers, achieving academically, and obtaining a high school diploma (Anderson, Jimerson, & Whipple, 2005; Andrew, 2014; Fine & Davis, 2003; Jimerson, 1999; Moser, West & Hughes, 2012; Nagaoka, 2005; and Ou & Reynolds, 2010). In this study I examined educational outcomes of students retained in a large southwest Florida school district under the A+ Plan in 2003-2004. I used a match control group, consisting of similarly nonretained students, who scored at level one on the Grade 3 Reading FCAT. I then compared the control group to the retained group. I also compared achievement levels on the Grade 10 Reading FCAT of the retained and non-retained group. I evaluated longitudinal data, for both the retained and non-retained students, and found 93% of the retained students continued to score below proficiency (below a level 3) seven years after retention on the Grade 10 Reading FCAT as compared with the 85.8% of the non-retained students. I also compared standard diploma acquisition of the retained and non-retained group. The non-retained group was 14.7% more likely to obtain a standard high school diploma than the retained group. Finally, I used data from previous studies to extrapolate economic outcomes.

[4] Baker’s analysis has key points detailed in the Executive Summary (p. i):

elaine
April 25, 2017

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Radical Eyes for Equity

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Radical Eyes for Equity: Think Tank Advocacy Reports Not Credible for Education Policy: SC Editionnepc.colorado.edu/blog

 

Janresseger: Ideology Drives School Privatization without Much Attention to the Real Consequences Apr 23rd

Janresseger: Ideology Drives School Privatization without Much Attention to the Real Consequences

– nepc.colorado.edu/blog

Janresseger: Ideology Drives School Privatization without Much Attention to the Real Consequences

Whether school privatization involves expansion of various kinds of vouchers or the proliferation of largely unregulated charter schools, the policy tends to be driven by its proponents’ ideology, not careful policy analysis. That is, promoters believe in an idea—They usually call it the expansion of parents’ choice rather than naming the privatization that is happening.—and they push that idea without describing, or worse without even examining, the side effects on individuals and institutions. Economists call these other implications externalities, and they may be positive or negative. In the area of education, because the expansion of the privatized education marketplace has implications, budgetary and otherwise, for the public school system that is expected to continue to serve the mass of children in any locality, the externalities are too often negative.
Members of the Texas House of Representatives recently defeated a bill for statewide education savings accounts, a far-right proposal from the American Legislative Exchange Council. (Education savings account vouchers are explained here in the Network for Public Education’s new toolkit, School Privatization Explained.) The Texas bill to establish education savings account vouchers had passed the state senate and been declared by the state’s lieutenant governor as “the civil rights issue of our time.” But then the Texas House began considering the negative externalities for schools in Texas’s hundreds of small towns and rural areas.
Reporters for the Austin American-Statesman describe what happened: “An effort to redirect state money to help students pay for private school tuition—a favorite cause of conservative education activists in Texas and nationally—seemed to have momentum at the beginning of this year’s legislative session… But after sailing through the Texas Senate, the effort has run aground in the House, thanks to pushback from rural Republicans and Democrats… The senate passed its large school choice bill this month—calling for the creation of so-called education savings accounts and tax credit scholarships…. Then, during a marathon debate of the House’s version of the state budget on April 6, legislators overwhelmingly approved an amendment that would bar any state money from supporting school choice programs the next two years, cementing the chamber’s stance on the issue.  All but one House Democrat, who was absent, voted for the amendment as well as Republicans, 40 of them representing districts with at least one rural school district.”
The distribution of state school funding was the primary negative externality discussed. The state’s school funding pie is too small said members of the Texas House of Representatives, and increasing the number of slices to include tax credits and education savings accounts would reduce the size of the piece for public schools. It was also pointed out that privatized schools are not held accountable for serving their students well.  And in rural areas, there are few private schools to which students could carry their tax-credit and education-savings-account vouchers: “A major argument against school choice from rural lawmakers is that there isn’t a market for private schools in rural areas.  Private schools are located within the boundaries of just six of the 459 school districts that the Texas Education Agency considers rural….”
Spending Blind, a study just released by Oakland’s In the Public Interest, traces a two-decades-long experiment in California with the rapid growth of charter schools: “Unfortunately, the central conclusion of this analysis is that funding for charter facilities is almost completely disconnected from educational policy objectives, and the results are, in turn, scattershot and haphazard… Far too much of these public funds are spent on schools built in neighborhoods that have no need for additional classroom space, and which offer no improvement over the quality of education already available in nearby public schools.”  The report explores the negative externalities of rapid expansion of charter schools.
The report’s author, Gordon Lafer, an economist from the Labor Education and Research Center at the University of Oregon, explains that in California, public school districts cannot spend tax dollars to build new schools unless they can prove there are enough students to justify a new school. But charter schools have been started up in all sorts of places that did not need new schools: “The most fundamental question to ask about any type of school construction is: how many schools are needed for the number of students we have?”  By contrast, proponents of school choice imagine a marketplace with an over-supply of schools so that parents have options from which to choose. Here is what Lafer finds in California: “As a result, nearly 450 charter schools have opened in places that already had enough classroom space for all students—and this overproduction of schools was made possible by generous public support, including $111 million in rent, lease, or mortgage payments picked up by taxpayers, $135 million in general obligation bonds, and $425 million in private investments subsidized with tax credits or tax exemptions.”
Lafer continues: “(T)he rationale for charter schools is not that they supply needed seats but that they provide a model of education that is new, different, and better than otherwise available. However, this presumption is not written in to any of the charter facility financing laws. As a result, hundreds of low quality charter schools are supported by taxpayers.”  Lafer finds that 75 percent of California’s charters have performed worse than their public school counterparts: “Again, the public has paid dearly for these disappointments…”
One negative externality has been an intensifying public school funding crisis as charters operators have located their schools in places where there are already plenty of public schools: “Such indiscriminate funding comes at a time when schools across the state face urgent needs that are going unmet due to budgetary shortfalls.  Parents, teachers, superintendents, and school board members alike point to model programs in danger of closure… overcrowded classrooms that make personal attention impossible; and insufficient funding for school counselors, social workers, special education, and English language learners.”
Finally, Lafer describes the most serious negative externality. The charters are a parasite devouring their host: “(T)he overbuilding of charter schools not only wastes tax dollars, but it also imposes significant costs—above and beyond the direct costs of charter facility financing—on traditional public schools and school districts, as well as on competing charter schools in the area.  Studies estimate that between 33%-55% of school budgets are dedicated to fixed costs such as buildings, student transportation, and central administration that cannot be reduced when enrollment declines due to a surplus of charter schools. Furthermore, many charter schools receive full funding for special education but enroll students with disproportionately mild needs, leaving the school district to serve the neediest children but without the resources to do so.  As such schools proliferate, they create a growing crisis for traditional public schools and students. Yet there is no place in charter facility funding policy for these impacts to be taken into account or mitigated.”
In Massachusetts last November, voters actually turned down expansion of charters after they were informed about the negative externalities. Moody’s, the bond rating agency, sent a warning letter to Boston, Springfield, Lawrence, and Fall River that their school district credit ratings could be lowered if charter schools were to be rapidly expanded, thereby undermining the school districts’ fiscal viability. And Boston’s mayor, Martin J. Walsh explained what he believed would be the fiscal realities for the public schools of Boston: “Question 2 does not just raise the cap. Over time, it would radically destabilize school governance in Massachusetts—not in any planned way, but by super-sizing an already broken funding system to a scale that would have a disastrous impact on students, their schools, and the cities and towns that fund them. This impact would hit Boston especially hard. Twenty-five percent of statewide charter school seats, and 36 percent of the seats added since 2011, are in Boston. Each year, the city sends charter schools a large and growing portion of state education aid to fund them. This funding system is unsustainable at current levels and would be catastrophic at the scale proposed by the ballot question… (O)ur charter school assessment is based on a raw per-student average that does not adequately account for differing student needs and the costs of meeting them. This system punishes Boston Public Schools for its commitments to inclusive classrooms and sheltered English immersion, as well as everything from vocational education to social and emotional learning. If those factors don’t tilt the playing field enough, there’s a kicker. Because our charter school assessment is based largely on the district’s spending, the more high needs students are concentrated in district schools—and the more we have to compensate for withheld reimbursements—the higher our charter payments grow. Currently, our charter school assessment is 5 percent of the city’s entire budget. Under the ballot proposal, it would grow to almost 20 percent in just over a decade. It’s not just unsustainable, it’s unconscionable.”
Next time you see a photo of Betsy DeVos visiting a school—on a regal visit, for example, with Melania Trump and the Queen of Jordan—imagine what would happen if a reporter were to ask her the policy question that she—the person who leads our national education department—ought to have been carefully considering.  What if the reporter were to ask: “Have you thought about the negative externalities of the program you are proposing—the impact, for example, on the public schools that serve most of our children?”

elaine
April 18, 2017

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Janresseger

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Janresseger: Ideology Drives School Privatization without Much Attention to the Real Consequencesnepc.colorado.edu/blog

 

Quick Key's New Google Forms Add-on Makes It Easy to Send Grades to PowerSchool Apr 13th

Quick Key's New Google Forms Add-on Makes It Easy to Send Grades to PowerSchool

– freetech4teachers.com

Quick Key's New Google Forms Add-on Makes It Easy to Send Grades to PowerSchoolEarlier this year Quick Key added a Google Classroom integration. Recently, Quick Key took that integration deeper by introducing a Google Forms Add-on. Quick Key’s Google Forms Add-on lets you take the quizzes that you create in Google Forms and have them automatically scored for you. You can then use those scores in Quick Key or send them directly to your PowerSchool gradebook.

Watch the following video created by Quick Key to learn how to use their new Google Forms Add-on.

Forms Grader by Quick Key Tutorial Video from Quick Key on Vimeo.

Applications for Education
Over the years Quick Key has evolved from being just an iPhone app for scanning multiple choice bubble sheets to a full-fledged assessment platform. Quick Key is a great option for classrooms that aren’t 1:1 because you can use printed assessment sheets that you scan with your iPhone or Android or you give your assessment online or you can do a mix of both. Whichever format you choose to use, you will still get the same formative assessment results quickly. Click here to register for a free Quick Key account.

Disclosure: Quick Key is an advertiser on FreeTech4Teachers.com

This post originally appeared on Free Technology for Teachers
if you see it elsewhere, it has been used without permission.
             Related Stories7 Good Resources for Teaching and Learning About Earth DayHow to Use Incognito Mode In Google Chrome – And Why You Might Use ItThe Week in Review – The Most Popular Posts 

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Quick Key's New Google Forms Add-on Makes It Easy to Send Grades to PowerSchoolfreetech4teachers.com

 

Hour of Code Org Developing New, Free CS Course Mar 19th

Hour of Code Org Developing New, Free CS Course

– thejournal.com

Code.org, the organization behind Hour to Code, will shortly pilot a new middle school/lower high school introductory computer science course that will be free when it’s released. For a short time it’s also taking applications for free professional development to help teachers prepare.

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Hour of Code Org Developing New, Free CS Coursethejournal.com

 

APNewsBreak: State drops planned A-F grades for schools Mar 13th

APNewsBreak: State drops planned A-F grades for schools

– edweek.org

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APNewsBreak: State drops planned A-F grades for schoolsedweek.org

 

For Young People, News Is Mobile, Social, and Hard to Trust, Studies Find Mar 12th

For Young People, News Is Mobile, Social, and Hard to Trust, Studies Find

– blogs.edweek.org/edweek/DigitalEducation/

“Fake news” is one of many reasons why tweens, teens, and young adults mistrust news organizations, according to studies from Common Sense Media and Data & Society.

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Hour of Code Org Developing New, Free CS Course Mar 19th

Code.org, the organization behind Hour to Code, will shortly pilot a new middle school/lower high school introductory computer science course that will be free when it's released. For a short time it's also taking applications for free professional development to help teachers prepare..... More »

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For Young People, News Is Mobile, Social, and Hard to Trust, Studies Findblogs.edweek.org/edweek/DigitalEducation/

 

VAMboozled!: David Berliner on The Purported Failure of America’s Schools Mar 12th

VAMboozled!: David Berliner on The Purported Failure of America’s Schools

– nepc.colorado.edu/blog

VAMboozled!: David Berliner on The Purported Failure of America’s Schools

My primary mentor, David Berliner (Regents Professor at Arizona State University (ASU)) wrote, yesterday, a blog post for the Equity Alliance Blog (also at ASU) on “The Purported Failure of America’s Schools, and Ways to Make Them Better” (click here to access the original blog post). See other posts about David’s scholarship on this blog here, here, and here. See also one of our best blog posts that David also wrote here, about “Why Standardized Tests Should Not Be Used to Evaluate Teachers (and Teacher Education Programs).”
In sum, for many years David has been writing “about the lies told about the poor performance of our students and the failure of our schools and teachers.” For example, he wrote one of the education profession’s all time classics and best sellers: The Manufactured Crisis: Myths, Fraud, And The Attack On America’s Public Schools (1995). If you have not read it, you should! All educators should read this book, on that note and in my opinion, but also in the opinion of many other iconic educational scholars throughout the U.S. (Paufler, Amrein-Beardsley, Hobson, under revision for publication).
While the title of this book accurately captures its contents, more specifically it “debunks the myths that test scores in America’s schools are falling, that illiteracy is rising, and that better funding has no benefit. It shares the good news about public education.” I’ve found the contents of this book to still be my best defense when others with whom I interact attack America’s public schools, as often misinformed and perpetuated by many American politicians and journalists.
In this blog post David, once again, debunks many of these myths surrounding America’s public schools using more up-to-date data from international tests, our country’s National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), state-level SAT and ACT scores, and the like. He reminds us of how student characteristics “strongly influence the [test] scores obtained by the students” at any school and, accordingly, “strongly influence” or bias these scores when used in any aggregate form (e.g., to hold teachers, schools, districts, and states accountable for their students’ performance).
He reminds us that “in the US, wealthy children attending public schools that serve the wealthy are competitive with any nation in the world…[but in]…schools in which low-income students do not achieve well, [that are not competitive with many nations in the world] we find the common correlates of poverty: low birth weight in the neighborhood, higher than average rates of teen and single parenthood, residential mobility, absenteeism, crime, and students in need of special education or English language instruction.” These societal factors explain poor performance much more (i.e., more variance explained) than any school-level, and as pertinent to this blog, teacher-level factor (e.g., teacher quality as measured by large-scale standardized test scores).
In this post David reminds us of much, much more, that we need to remember and also often recall in defense of our public schools and in support of our schools’ futures (e.g., research-based notes to help “fix” some of our public schools).
Again, please do visit the original blog post here to read more.

elaine
March 6, 2017

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VAMboozled!

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Janresseger: Ideology Drives School Privatization without Much Attention to the Real Consequences Apr 23rd

Janresseger: Ideology Drives School Privatization without Much Attention to the Real Consequences Whether school privatization involves expansion of various kinds of vouchers or the proliferation of largely unregulated charter schools, the policy tends to be driven by its proponents’ .... More »

The Answer Sheet: How Three Schools Creatively Face the Challenge of Educating Immigrant Students May 10th

The Answer Sheet: How Three Schools Creatively Face the Challenge of Educating Immigrant Students (This is the tenth in a series of posts about schools named as winners in the 2015-2016 Schools of Opportunity project. There are links to all at the bottom of this post.)   If you have p.... More »

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VAMboozled!: David Berliner on The Purported Failure of America’s Schoolsnepc.colorado.edu/blog

 

Fixes: A School Where Raising the Bar Lifts Hope Mar 11th

Fixes: A School Where Raising the Bar Lifts Hope

– nytimes.com/

Fixes: A School Where Raising the Bar Lifts HopeInviting low-income high-schoolers into advanced-level courses can get them past fears that they’re not college material.

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Fixes: A School Where Raising the Bar Lifts Hopenytimes.com/

 

Reading: not doing it enough is killing us. Mar 11th

Reading: not doing it enough is killing us.

– deangroom.wordpress.com/

During the primary years, schools have proven themselves adept at teaching children to read.  Great news for primary school teachers and children. Reading is the key skill humans use to access new information and in modern hyper-connected, Bluetooth, streaming social society (some call Junk Culture) we never stop reading messages and may even be amusing ourselves to death according to some such as Neil Postman. Whether we believe childhood is better for more things to read or worse, the BIG change for the current generation of parents is that the idea of ‘reading’ we remember at school is under siege from the digital revolution of the last decade.
Reading can change the world. Not Audi or Apple, not the Huffington Post or YouTube. This post is about resetting our thinking about ‘reading’ as an idea. If we don’t accept that ‘reading’ for children – daily – is as important as eating and exercising, then children are not just left to their devices – but being inducted into consumer culture that makes those devices so ‘life essential’ and more essential that a book. So here, I’m going to lay it out – walk past EB Games and into a Bookshop every time you go to the mega-loot-entertainment-hub near you. Grab a book, sit down with your kid and read for 10 mins. Then buy the book.
Why would you do this? Why would you care? Why give up the iPad and iPhone for old technology? – Because reading really is a life skill. According to UNESCO “If all students in low income countries left school with basic reading skills, 171 million people could be lifted out of poverty, which would be equivalent to a 12% cut in world poverty”. Boom! just by acquiring the skills we give children by year 3. Around the world, most children don’t learn to read at school. If all women completed primary education, there would be 66% fewer maternal deaths for example. So reading has a massive impact – it is literally a life or death skill.
The Modern English Alphabet spent hundreds of years evolving. In fact, the runic alphabet, which is the earliest form of written English has been in use since the 5th century. Many arguments, reforms, influences and changes later, and the written English language encountered by teenagers is a collection of ‘modern english‘ and digital allographs that have lots of meanings. Added to that, teens create and use glyphs and symbols to represent entire ideas and feelings (emoji). Recent US research found that MOST teenagers don’t Google. For the last ten years or so, teachers have been arguing about whether Google is: cheating, rubbish, useful, time-saver, time-waster and so on. The battle was over what digital technology would be allowed in the classroom, and whether or not ‘the book‘ was better. It was a silly debate, but teachers seemed to enjoy it in staff meetings for years. The reality is that reading is better for children than not reading. We can get into what kind of ‘reading’ material, print vs digital etc., but that missed the point. Reading in the sense of reading for understanding, which also promotes listening to understand, not just reply.
If you want to see the result of not focusing on this: consider what Trunk reads before he Tweets out some more bile and rubbish. Then ask youself, do you think his education minister Sweaty Davros think a ‘reading’ public is a good idea? No, killing reading also kills people.
The EdTech binary debate was was a silly debate in many ways, but teachers seemed to enjoy it in staff meetings for years. Sadly it still goes on in many staffrooms, so don’t wait for your school to solve or #stem (joke) the problem.
The simple, sugar-free and brand-free reality is that reading is better for children than not reading. Australian research shows children have less leisure time than a decade ago and more media choices – so reading for many has vanished as something to do with their leisure time. We can get into what kind of ‘reading’ material, print vs digital etc., but that misses the point. Reading in the sense of reading a great book written in ‘Modern English‘ has shown to improve the lives of children for their entire lives. We can’t say the same of the iPad or the Xbox yet.
If you have read down to here, give yourself a pat on the back!
Reading means reading more than a Tweet or a Facebook post. The media would like you not to do that, but read the headline, then another, then another and spend your whole day clicking. That is what the US research found. Almost all high school students get their news from social media links – other people share. They are not Googling, they just click on ‘stuff’ and the engines that drive the stuff are designed to agree that their world view and lifestyle belief is the best. This internet – is not the one you figured out in the 1990s, todays media bubble for teens has almost no useful comparisons to the days of Yahoo, MSN and beige computers in the family room.
Kids need to read to: interpret explicit information, retrieve direct information, and interpret information by inferring meaning. Reading at school has been eroded by governments for decades after year three. Yes they read text books, but how well they read them is really important. It’s the key driver of success into Senior school – being able to ‘read’ the question and then ‘read’ the text to answer is driven by skills learned a decade earlier. A student might be creative, insightful, hard working and so on, but unless they can ‘read’ well enough to decode the question, they are forced to guess or might take away the wrong meaning. It’s not like exam writers try NOT to do that, they do want to see who can deal with the difficult questions AND content.
Now I’m sure that all students read for 30 minutes a day, and that they know what books are appropriate for their reading level. They probably do this while they wait for their device’s battery to recharge. In case they don’t, then I suggest you find ways to encourage it at home, especially in teens. It might not be as well received as a new Xbox game, but that’s like saying we know children need a healthy diet to thrive and still feeding them sugary junk because they like it.
Schools do teach children to read. The media headlines might try and claim otherwise, but since the 5th century, Modern English based reading – in books, has taught every great inventor, scientist, artist etc., the key skills they need to be a success – and it still delivers results.

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Reading: not doing it enough is killing us.deangroom.wordpress.com/