Articles

 On Charter Schools:

 

By Marian Wang, ProPublica

“The school has… attributes that may have appealed to the Koch group. The school’s founder, a politically active North Carolina businessman named Baker Mitchell, shares the Koch’s free-market ideals. His model for success embraces decreased government regulation, increased privatization, and, if all goes well, healthy corporate profits.

In that regard, Mitchell, 74, appears to be thriving. Every year, millions of public education dollars flow through Mitchell’s chain of four nonprofit charter schools to for-profit companies he controls.”

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/10/15/at-this-creepy-libertarian-charter-school-kids-must-swear-to-be-obedient-to-those-in-authority.html

On Common Core:

 

By Alice G. Walton, Forbes

“But this is more than an issue of parental pique. Child development experts and early childhood educators believe that there is actually quite a lot to lose. The issue is not at all ideological, they say – it’s partly pedagogical, and partly psychological. According to experts, a poorly conceived set of standards has the potential to be, at best, fruitless and, at worst, detrimental to the youngest kids who are on the frontline of the Common Core. In the long run, the argument goes, it might be associated with a lot more cost than benefit.”

http://www.forbes.com/sites/alicegwalton/2014/10/23/the-science-of-the-common-core-experts-weigh-in-on-its-developmental-appropriateness/

2014 087

On Montclair Issues:

 

By Natalie Heard Hackett, The Alternate Press

“The panel consisted of Dr. Chris Tienken, Associate Professor at Seton Hall University, Newark Board of Education member Antoinette Baskerville-Richardson, Highland Park Board of Education member Darcie Cimarusti, Montclair Board of Education member Jessica de Koninck, South Orange-Maplewood Board of Education member Johanna Wright and Bloomfield Board of Education member Anderson.

Tienken, a former public school administrator and co-author of ‘The School Reform Landscape: Fraud, Myth and Lies’, opened saying “The argument that all these standardized reforms…rest on pillars of sand….” Tienken spoke of districts and states such as Highland Park, Bloomfield, Newark, Oregon, Palm Beach County, Texas that fought back over testing. He further added that ‘one-size-fits-all curriculum standards’ seeks to homogenize education. “Local school boards have been reduced to state adopted polices.” He added, “Testing is not learning. Test preparation is not teaching.”

http://thealternativepress.com/towns/montclair/sections/education/articles/175-gathered-in-montclair-for-roundtable-discussi

On Race:

 

By Valerie Strauss, Washington Post

“We believe that improved accountability systems at the local, state, and federal levels are central to advancing and broadening equal educational opportunity for each and every child in America. The current educational accountability system has become overly focused on narrow measures of success and, in some cases, has discouraged schools from providing a rich curriculum for all students focused on the 21st century skills they need to acquire. This particularly impacts under-resourced schools that disproportionately serve low-income students and students of color. In our highly inequitable system of education, accountability is not currently designed to ensure students will experience diverse and integrated classrooms with the necessary resources for learning and support for excellent teaching in all schools. It is time to end the advancement of policies and ideas that largely omit the critical supports and services necessary for children and families to access equal educational opportunity in diverse settings and to promote positive educational outcomes.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2014/10/28/eleven-civil-rights-groups-urge-obama-to-drop-test-based-k-12-accountability-system/

By Jamie Gullen, racism.org

“Despite the re-segregation of schools and clear disparities in achievement along racial and socioeconomic lines, the responses by the education reform movement, the federal government, and the courts have largely skirted around the issue of race. For example, President Obama did not once mention race or poverty in his 2011 State of the Union Address, but rather focused on themes such as competition in a global marketplace, the importance of math and science training for a new generation of jobs, and the failure of the public education system to meet the needs of all students. Meanwhile, the United States Supreme Court has held that school districts cannot use race as a tie-breaking factor when assigning students to schools in order to achieve integration. Leaders in the education reform movement must place an increased emphasis on the racial nature of educational inequity and advocate for voluntary integration strategies to lessen racial segregation and ultimately close the racial achievement gap.”

http://racism.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1355:colorblind-education&catid=43:education-and-race&Itemid=172

 

By Michelle Fine and Michael Fabricant, The Nation

“But evidence of the reformers’ broken promises has quickly accumulated. In the past five years, more and more parents of color have come to realize that school closings do not yield school improvement; that over-testing steals instructional time; and that charter schools do not generally outperform local schools even though they under-enroll students in need of special-education services, extremely poor youth and English-language learners. Shuttering neighborhood schools and dispersing their students, meanwhile, severs the links between communities and local schools, and redistributes real estate, contracts and public funds away from poor communities and into private pockets.”

http://www.thenation.com/article/181756/what-it-takes-unite-teachers-unions-and-communities-color

On “Reform”:

 

By Amy B. Dean, The Nation

“One thing this movement has already accomplished is exposing how the education “reform” movement provides cover to Republicans and Democrats who are starving the public school system. In championing privately run charter schools, the (self-described) reformers paint traditional schools as failures that should be defunded—even if those traditional schools outperform charters. By bashing teachers unions, figures like [Michelle] Rhee have helped politicians scapegoat the unions for fiscal woes, even as many of those lawmakers advocate cutting taxes. And by claiming that those who cite poverty’s impact on student achievement are merely making excuses for sub-par teaching, the “reform” camp has played down the devastating effects of ruthless budget cutting.”

http://www.thenation.com/article/175532/are-street-protests-next-fight-over-education-reform

 

 

On the Schools-to-Prison Pipeline:

Editorial, Rethinking Schools:

“The school-to-prison pipeline begins in deep social and economic inequalities, and has taken root in the historic shortcomings of schooling in this country. The civil and human rights movements of the 1960s and ’70s spurred an effort to “rethink schools” to make them responsive to the needs of all students, their families, and communities. This rethinking included collaborative learning environments, multicultural curriculum, student-centered, experiential pedagogy—we were aiming for education as liberation. The back-to-basics backlash against that struggle has been more rigid enforcement of ever more alienating curriculum.

The “zero tolerance” policies that today are the most extreme form of this punishment paradigm were originally written for the war on drugs in the early 1980s, and later applied to schools. As Annette Fuentes explains, the resulting extraordinary rates of suspension and expulsion are linked nationally to increasing police presence, checkpoints, and surveillance inside schools.”

http://www.rethinkingschools.org/archive/26_02/edit262.shtml

 

By Carla Amurao, Tavis Smiley on PBS

“The school-to-prison pipeline: an epidemic that is plaguing schools across the nation. Far too often, students are suspended, expelled or even arrested for minor offenses that leave visits to the principal’s office a thing of the past. Statistics reflect that these policies disproportionately target students of color and those with a history of abuse, neglect, poverty or learning disabilities”

http://www.pbs.org/wnet/tavissmiley/tsr/education-under-arrest/school-to-prison-pipeline-fact-sheet/

 

By the American Civil Liberties Union

“The ACLU is committed to challenging the “school to prison pipeline,” a disturbing national trend wherein children are funneled out of public schools and into the juvenile and criminal justice systems. Many of these children have learning disabilities or histories of poverty, abuse or neglect, and would benefit from additional educational and counseling services. Instead, they are isolated, punished and pushed out.”

https://www.aclu.org/school-prison-pipeline

 

 On Testing and Test Refusal:

By Stacy Teicher Khadaroo, The Christian Science Monitor

“Whether a student faces a large number of tests is not solely determined by federal or state testing mandates, but is largely the product of local district decisions, concludes a report released Thursday by the Center for American Progress/

 

By Allie Bidwell, U.S News and World Report

“You need a paradigm shift to match the paradigm shift that’s happened in education,” says Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers. “The American Dream is slipping out of our grasp because we don’t actually do the things we say are important.”

The New Accountability framework centers around making changes to three central concepts in educational accountability: standardized testing, teacher evaluation and school resource equity. While it doesn’t put forth detailed recommendations for how states and local districts should proceed, the framework is intended as a foundation for future conversation, Weingarten says.

http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2014/10/28/teachers-unions-education-advocacy-groups-call-for-new-accountability-system

 

By Catherine Gewertz, Education Week

“With next spring’s testing season already on the horizon, measurement experts worry that many states risk giving assessments that don’t fully reflect their academic standards. Allowing only months for a new or tweaked test­—or using an existing test for new standards—erodes the likelihood of good alignment, they warn.

“When you’ve developed a test with one goal in mind, and that target is changed, you’ll have a misalignment between assessment and instruction, and that’s not good for anybody,” said Stephen G. Sireci, the director of the Center for Educational Assessment at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.”

http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2014/09/03/03assessment.h34.html

 

By Valerie Strauss, Washington Post

“We believe that improved accountability systems at the local, state, and federal levels are central to advancing and broadening equal educational opportunity for each and every child in America. The current educational accountability system has become overly focused on narrow measures of success and, in some cases, has discouraged schools from providing a rich curriculum for all students focused on the 21st century skills they need to acquire. This particularly impacts under-resourced schools that disproportionately serve low-income students and students of color. In our highly inequitable system of education, accountability is not currently designed to ensure students will experience diverse and integrated classrooms with the necessary resources for learning and support for excellent teaching in all schools. It is time to end the advancement of policies and ideas that largely omit the critical supports and services necessary for children and families to access equal educational opportunity in diverse settings and to promote positive educational outcomes.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2014/10/28/eleven-civil-rights-groups-urge-obama-to-drop-test-based-k-12-accountability-system/

On Value Added Measurements

 By Holly Yettick, Education Week

“In a study published… in the peer-reviewed journal Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, Morgan Polikoff, an assistant education professor at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, and Andrew Porter, an education professor at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, found no association between value-added results and other widely accepted measures of teaching quality, such as the degree to which instruction is aligned with state standards or the contents of assessments. Nor did the study find associations between “multiple measure” ratings, which combine value-added measures with observations and other factors, and the amount and type of content covered in classrooms. That finding is potentially important because many states have responded to the Race to the Top grant competitions and other federal initiatives by adopting multiple-measure evaluation systems for teachers.”

http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2014/05/13/32value-add.h33.html

 

By Valerie Strauss, Washington Post

“One of the most controversial issues in public education today is the use of “value-added measures” to evaluate teachers and principals. What these measures, known as VAM, purportedly do is to calculate the “value” of a teacher in student achievement through complicated formulas that use student standardized test scores as a base. Assessment experts have repeatedly warned that VAM should not be used for any high-stakes decisions because the results are unreliable but that hasn’t stopped school reformers from VAM anyway in systems across the country, with support from the Obama administration.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2014/01/20/the-education-departments-strange-new-report-on-teaching/

 

From the American Statistical Association

“It is unknown how full implementation of an accountability system incorporating test-based
indicators, such as those derived from VAMs, will affect the actions and dispositions of teachers,
principals and other educators. Perceptions of transparency, fairness and credibility will be
crucial in determining the degree of success of the system as a whole in achieving its goals of
improving the quality of teaching. Given the unpredictability of such complex interacting forces,
it is difficult to anticipate how the education system as a whole will be affected and how the
educator labor market will respond. We know from experience with other quality improvement
undertakings that changes in evaluation strategy have unintended consequences. A decision to
use VAMs for teacher evaluations might change the way the tests are viewed and lead to changes
in the school environment. For example, more classroom time might be spent on test preparation
and on specific content from the test at the exclusion of content that may lead to better long-term
learning gains or motivation for students. Certain schools may be hard to staff if there is a
perception that it is harder for teachers to achieve good VAM scores when working in them.
Overreliance on VAM scores may foster a competitive environment, discouraging collaboration
and efforts to improve the educational system as a whole.”

https://www.amstat.org/policy/pdfs/ASA_VAM_Statement.pdf

 

 

 

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  1. Pingback: Myths and Truths of Teacher Evals | Montclair Education Matters

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