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How to Fix Our Public Schools? 12-17-13
IMPROVING PUBLIC SCHOOLS
What Needs to be Done to Improve Public Schools?
Nearly everyone agrees that there's a need to improve public schools, but there is no consensus on what should be done. In some districts top-down reforms are using high stakes tests to determine which schools should be closed and which teachers fired.
Charter schools are supplanting public schools and public school teachers in a number of failing urban districts such as Detroit, with mixed results. Public school teacher contracts are being re-negotiated or invalidated along with teachers’ collective bargaining rights. Not surprisingly, some administrators and teachers have been caught doctoring student achievement test results in order to avoid school closures, teacher firings and losses of funds.Teacher merit or performance pay and charter schools are being offered as panaceas for improving public schools.
There is no mystery about why many inner city and other public schools aren’t performing as well as they should. All one must do is compare them with the best private schools where the headmasters or principals and teachers aren’t subject to the stultifying control of huge, centralized, hierarchical bureaucracies of many inner city school systems.
Private schools and class sizes are smaller. [For example at the Groton School in Massachusetts where the Roosevelts studied, total enrollment is 372, grades 8-12; the average class size is 13; the teacher:student ratio is 1:5; and classes are offered weekly on Saturdays and Sundays.]
There are no shortages of books or materials in successful private schools.
Students in private schools, for the most part, come from suburban upper or middle class families many of whom provide them with an enriched intellectual environment almost from the time they are born—plenty of books, good health care, pre-schools, summer programs and parental encouragement to excel.
When a student is not performing, appropriate attention and resources are devoted to the problem. Fewer students “fall through the cracks” than in inner city schools where many students come from much less nourishing family and community environments.
Judging inner-city public school teachers solely or primarily on the basis of test scores is likely to be misleading and unfair because many factors beyond a teacher's control affect learning and test scores. Used properly, student achievement test score standards as one measure for evaluating teacher and school performance may contribute to improving school and teacher performance, but more important are specific changes in the structure and process which must be accomplished in order to meet higher standards.
My experience--as a student (in 8 schools elementary through grad school), teacher (briefly) and as a parent of three children--tells me that improvement requires increased funding, smaller, more decentralized schools (200 to 600), smaller class sizes (maximum 25 for most courses) and simpler curriculums emphasizing excellence in the core subjects of English (reading and writing), math, science, foreign languages, music and the fine and industrial arts. Comprehensive, age-appropriate sex education should be a part of every school's curriculum.
School athletics should emphasize participation by all students, not major sports with a few stars and many student spectators. Excellence in scholarship and service should be recognized as well as athletic performance.
Teacher education and standards for the middle and high school level should have greater emphasis on in-depth knowledge of subject matter in addition to courses in teaching techniques.
School administrations should be leaner and more decentralized with greater authority vested in the principals and teachers in administrative and curriculum decisions.
Charter schools can have a useful role to play but not to the extent of the wholesale supplanting of public schools. Contrary to Waiting for Superman which was a one-sided commercial for charter schools, they are not a silver bullet. They are over-rated as a solution to improving education in this country.
Consideration should be given to providing longer school days, weeks and school years. For many kids, school is the best place they ever go, and they know it. The poorer they are, the truer this is. Inner city schools, with the right amount of solid financial support and by getting rid of the dead weight of school board members who pad their pockets, take trips and have paid drivers on the public ticket. Increased funding is needed not for talking about the process of educating, but money spent on the face-to-face of teacher and student. Give the kid the teacher he needs, in the safe place he needs. Give the teacher the resources he or she needs, in time, materiel, support, respect, training, and encouragement. And give them both more time - the settlement house concept of the evening public school has never been more needed. These aren't the immigrant children Jane Addams took care of, but they are every bit as much strangers in a strange land, small people who have to act big to survive.
Higher school performance can only be achieved by implementing specific improvements in the educational process. In and of themselves, high stakes test score standards used to judge schools and teachers accomplishes little and often is harmful.
N.R.A. Recommends Assigning Police Guards to All Schools
Soon after the Newtown, Connecticut, slaughter of 20 first-graders and six staff members, the N.R.A. recommended that police be assigned to all schools. Aside from the expense, this would be a poor public policy because police guards would soon on their own initiative or as a result of requests from teachers or administrators, become involved in student disciplinary matters traditionally and best handled by teachers and staff. Experience in Mississippi public schools where police turn minor disciplinary problems into criminal matters, described in the New York Times articles and editorial linked below, supports the conclusion that routine assignment of police to schools is not a useful policy.
Diane Ravitch's New Book "Reign of Terror...The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America's Public Schools" reviewed by Jonathan Kozol (See link below.)
"Our urban schools are in trouble because of concentrated poverty and racial segregation," which make for a "toxic mix." "In her new book she arrows in more directly, and polemically, on the privatization movement which shw calls a 'hoax' and a 'danger' that has fed on the myth that schools are failing..."
[I am responsible for the views expressed in this article, but I wish to acknowledge the help of a dedicated teacher friend of mine, Tess Hoffman, who suggested several substantive changes and additions and made a number of corrections in my punctuation and grammar as well. Fellow Hubber and teacher, Barranca, also contributed to the article.]
"The Michigan Experiment" or how the DeVos family and the Republican Party Wrecked Michigan Schools by Mark Binelli
- Michigan Gambled on Charter Schools. Its Children Lost. - The New York Times
Free-market boosters, including Betsy DeVos, promised that a radical expansion of charter schools would fix the stark inequalities in the state’s education system. The results in the classrooms are far more complicated.
NYTimes 3-12-17 "To Fix Schools, Go Get the Principal" David Leonhardt
- Log In - New York Times
Principals can make a real difference. Overlooking them is a mistake — and fortunately, they’re starting to get more attention. The federal education law passed in 2015, to replace No Child Left Behind, puts emphasis on the development of principals.
NYTimes 7-23-15 "The Common Core Costs Billions and Hurts Students" Diane Ravitch
- Log In - The New York Times
Six years after the release of national standards, the Common Core, and the new federal tests that accompanied them, it's clear that a national curriculum is an excuse to avoid serious efforts to reduce the causes of low low achievement: poverty and
NYTimes 3-27-16 "Don't Grade Schools on Grit"
- Log In - The New York Times
A 2011 meta-analysis of more than 200 school-based programs found that teaching social and emotional skills can improve behavior and raise academic achievement, strong evidence that school is an important arena for the development of character.
NYTimes How to Fix Public Schools and How Not To--Union City and Newark
6-16-15 NYTimes--"How to Grade Teachers" by Joe Nocera
- Log In - The New York Times
"The first thing I noticed about the council’s recommendations is that they completely avoid the divisive political language that has alienated teachers. Instead of casting teacher evaluation as primarily being about getting rid of bad teachers..."
January 6, 2015 Boston Globe "A Review of 'The Test' by Anya Kamenetz"
- A review of “The Test” by Anya Kamenetz - Books - The Boston Globe
America has become obsessed with educational testing. It seems to be our magic bullet for all social and economic problems. This has given rise to a far-ranging national debate about the scope, worth, justification, and outcomes of testing. The value
8-24-14NYTimesBookReview "Building a Better Teacher" and "Getting Schooled" reviewed by Sebastian Stockman
- Log In - The New York Times
"Green, a journalist and the editor of Chalkbeat, an education news organization, argues that good teaching is largely “the result of extraordinary skill, not inborn talent.” If lighting a fire is a skill, it can be learned, and it can be taught."
8-24-14NYTimesBook Review "The Teacher Wars" review by Claudia Wallis
- "The Teacher Wars" by Dana Goldstein reviewed by Claudia Wallis
"In “The Teacher Wars,” her lively account of the history of teaching, Dana Goldstein traces the numerous trends that have shaped “the most controversial profession in America.”
12-17-13NYTimes OP-ED "What is good teaching?" Joe Nocera
- ‘What Is Good Teaching?’ - NYTimes.com
A documentary shows what goes on in the classroom, and serves as an unwitting primer on how to teach disadvantaged students.
9-29-13 NYTimes Book Review "Reign of Terror" by Diane Ravitch
- Review of Diane Ravitch's "Reign of Terror"
In her new book, “Reign of Error,” she arrows in more directly, and polemically, on the privatization movement, which she calls a “hoax” and a “danger” that has fed on the myth that schools are failing.
8-25-13NYTimes Book Review--"Amanda Ripley's 'Smartest Kids in the World'"
- Amanda Ripley’s ‘Smartest Kids in the World’ - NYTimes.com
Ripley follows 3 Americans to find how other nations educate students so much more effectively than we...A virtuous cycle is initiated: better-prepared teachers given more autonomy, leading to more satisfied teachers who are more likely to stay on.
"The Trouble With Testing Mania" NYTimes Editorial 7-14-13
"Congress made a sensible decision a decade ago when it required the states to administer yearly tests to public school students in exchange for federal education aid. The theory behind the No Child Left Behind Act was that holding schools accountable for test scores would force them to improve instruction for groups of children whom they had historically shortchanged.
"Testing did spur some progress in student performance. But it has become clear to us over time that testing was being overemphasized — and misused — in schools that were substituting test preparation for instruction. Even though test-driven reforms were helpful in the beginning, it is now clear that they will never bring this country’s schools up to par with those of the high-performing nations that have left us far behind in math, science and even literacy instruction.
"Congress required the states to give annual math and reading tests in grades three through eight (and once in high school) as a way of ensuring that students were making progress and that minority children were being fairly educated. Schools that did not meet performance targets for two years were labeled as needing improvement and subjected to sanctions. Fearing that they would be labeled poor performers, schools and districts — especially in low-income areas — rolled out a relentless series of “diagnostic” tests that were actually practice rounds for the high-stakes exams to come.
"That the real tests were weak, and did not gauge the skills students needed to succeed, made matters worse. Unfortunately, most states did not invest in rigorous, high-quality exams with open-ended essay questions that test reasoning skill. Rather, they opted for cheap, multiple-choice tests of marginal value. While practically making exams the center of the educational mission, the country underinvested in curriculum development and teacher training, overlooking the approaches that other nations use to help teachers get constantly better.
"The government went further in the testing direction through its competitive grant program, known as Race to the Top, and a waiver program related to No Child Left Behind, both of which pushed the states to create teacher evaluation systems that take student test data into account. Test scores should figure in evaluations, but the measures have to be fair, properly calibrated and statistically valid — all of which means that these evaluation systems cannot be rushed into service before they are ready.
"Foreign nations with the highest-performing school systems did not build them this way. In fact, none of the top-performing nations have opted for a regime of grade-by-grade standardized tests. Instead, they typically have gateway exams that determine, for example, if high school students have met their standards. These countries typically have strong, national curriculums. Perhaps most important, they set a high bar for entry into the teaching profession and make sure that the institutions that train teachers do it exceedingly well.
"In Finland, for example, teacher preparation programs are highly competitive and extremely challenging. (The programs are free to students and come with a living stipend.) Close attention is devoted not just to scholarly and research matters but to pedagogical skills.
"This country, by contrast, has an abysmal system of teacher preparation. That point was underscored recently in a harrowing report on teacher education programs from the National Council on Teacher Quality, a research and advocacy group. The report found that very few programs meet even basic quality standards: new students are often poorly prepared, and what the schools teach them “often has little relevance to what they need to succeed in the classroom.”
"Some problems could be partly solved by the Common Core learning standards, an ambitious set of goals for what students should learn. The Common Core, adopted by all but a handful of states, could move the nation away from rote memorization — and those cheap, color-in-the-bubble tests — and toward a writing-intensive system that gives students the reasoning skills they need in the new economy. But the concept has become the subject of a backlash from test-weary parents who have little confidence in a whole new round of exams that the system will require. Beyond that, teachers are understandably worried that they will be evaluated — and pushed out of jobs — based on how their students perform on tests related to the old curriculum while they are being asked to teach the new one. If school officials fail to resolve these issues in a fair manner, the national effort to install the new standards could collapse.
"Congress could ease some of the test mania by rethinking the way schools are evaluated under No Child Left Behind. Test scores are important to that process, but modest weight should be given to a few other indicators, like advanced courses, promotion rates, college-going rates and so on. Similarly, the states that have allowed the districts to choke schools with the diagnostic tests and data collection could reverse that trend so that schools have perhaps one or two higher-quality tests per year. In other words, the country needs to reconsider its obsession with testing, which can make education worse, not better.
"Bully" film review
- "Bully" Movie Review
Bully is a documentary about school bullying that everyone who has young children or who has contact with children should see. Viewing should be mandatory for all elementary and high school teachers and administrators.
5-30-13NYTimesEditorial "The School to Prison Pipeline"
- New York City’s School-to-Prison Pipeline - NYTimes.com
A task force urges New York City’s schools to adopt new approaches to discipline that would not criminalize minor misbehaviors.
5-6-13NYTimes "TED Teams Up with PBS for Education Program" Elizabeth Jensen
- TED Teams Up With PBS for Education Program - NYTimes.com
If it is successful, the show could become a template for future joint projects.
4-18-13NYtimes EDITORIAL "Criminalizing Children at School"
- Criminalizing Children at School - NYTimes.com
Districts should think twice before deploying more cops in schools because it might hurt students more than it helps them.
4-14-13NYTimesMagazine--"Who Knew Greenwich, Connecticut, Was a Model of Equality?" Adam Davidson
- Who Knew That Greenwich, Conn., Was a Model of Equality? - NYTimes.com
The Connecticut town may be ground zero for the 1 percent, but its schools have been witness to a low-income economic phenomenon.
4-13-13NYTimes OP-ED "Teachers: Will We Ever Learn?" Jal Mehta
- Teachers - Will We Ever Learn? - NYTimes.com
Thirty years later, we’re still “a nation at risk.”
4-12-13NYTimes--With Police in Schools, More Children in Court
- With Police in Schools, More Children in Court - NYTimes.com
Youth advocates and judges say more children are being sent into the criminal justice system for acts like scuffles and truancy that are better handled in the principal’s office.
4-12-13NYTimes--Special Ed Contractor--Huge Fees and Shoddy Care
- For Special Ed Contractor, Huge Fees and Shoddy Care - NYTimes.com
The lavish spending and questionable performance of a company that provided therapy to young children underscores problems in a segment of New York’s special education program.
2-23-13NYTimes EDITORIAL "Better Charter Schools in NY City"
- Better Charter Schools in New York City - NYTimes.com
A new study shows how New York can build on its stronger-than-average record. The Stanford center rocked the education world in 2009 with a national study finding that only 17 percent of charter schools offered students a better education...
2-10-13NYTimes OP-ED "The Secret to Fixing Bad Schools" by David Kirp, Prof. of Public Policy Cal Berkeley
- The Secret To Fixing Bad Schools - NYTimes.com
The striking achievement of Union City, N.J. — bringing poor, mostly immigrant kids into the educational mainstream — argues for reinventing the public schools we have.
2--2-13NYTimes Editorial--"More Lessons About Charter Schools:
- More Lessons About Charter Schools - NYTimes.com
States will only replicate mediocrity if they expand charters too quickly. Despite a growing number of studies showing that charter schools are generally no better — and often are worse — than their traditional counterparts, the state and local agenc
1-17-12NYTimes--"Report Criticizes School Discipline Measures in Mississippi Public Schools"
- Report Criticizes School Discipline Measures Used in Mississippi - NYTimes.com
“Police who were initially put in schools to handle matters of safety have become involved in ordinary day-to-day disciplinary infractions.” Students were handcuffed for infractions as minor as not wearing a belt.
9-16-12NYTimesOPINION--"Are We Asking Too Much From Our Teachers?" Alex Kotlowitz
- The Chicago Teachers’ Strike, in Perspective - NYTimes.com
Schools are clearly a critical piece — no, the critical piece — in any anti-poverty strategy, but they can’t go it alone.
"What's Wrong With Merit Pay" Alfie Kohn
- The Folly of Merit Pay
"Son of Merit Pay: The Sequel" is playing around the country. The advocates of this approach—conservatives, conservative economists—insist that we need only adopt their current incentive schemes and, this time, teaching really will improve. Honestly
6-25-12Wall Street Journal "Why Charter Schools Work" by Deborah Kenny, Founder, Harlem Village Academies
- Deborah Kenny: Why Charter Schools Work - WSJ.com
In The Wall Street Journal, Deborah Kenny of Harlem Village Academies writes that accountability for results and freedom from union rules attract the best teachers into the profession.
5-22-12NYTimes OP-ED "Gates Puts the Focus on Teaching" Joe Nocera
- Gates Puts the Focus on Teaching - NYTimes.com
The Gates Foundation is behind new experiments that aim to help teachers become better at their jobs, not just rate their performance.
5-22-12NYTimes--"Public Money Finds its Way to Private Schools"
- Scholarship Funds, Meant for Needy, Benefit Private Schools - NYTimes.com
A growing number of states are passing laws that allow taxpayer-supported scholarship funds, but they have been twisted to benefit private schools at the expense of the neediest children.
4-27-12NYTimes OP-Ed "God and Man in Tennessee" ["Intelligent" design and "gateway sex behavior" in Tennessee] Amy Greene
- God and Man in Tennessee - NYTimes.com
By politicizing our faith, lawmakers are ignoring Tennessee’s true religious roots and threatening the liberties they claim to protect.
4-27-12NYTimes OP-Ed "A Very Pricey Pineapple" Gail Collins
- A Very Pricey Pineapple - NYTimes.com
Let’s tackle the topic of privatization of public education.No Child Left Behind created a system of public-funded charter schools, a growing number of which are run by for profit companies. Some are online...The academic results can be abysmal.
3-17-12NYTimes OP-ED How Charter Schools Can Hurt by Lucinda Rosenfeld
- How Charter Schools Can Hurt - NYTimes.com
Charter schools trying to poach students can rob already thriving schools of diversity.
12-13-11NYTimes--Profits and Questions About On-line Charter Schools
- Online Schools Score Better on Wall Street Than in Classrooms - NYTimes.com
A look at the largest online school company’s operations raises serious questions about whether its schools — and full-time online schools in general — are a good deal for children or taxpayers.
9-5-11NYtimes--Houston Public Schools Copy Some Charter School Techniques
- A School District Mimics Charters, Hoping Success Will Follow - NYTimes.com
In a first, 20 public schools in Houston are adopting the proven techniques of charter schools to see if they can help raise achievement.
2-10-12NYTimes--Education Gap Grows Between Rich and Poor
- Education Gap Grows Between Rich and Poor, Studies Show - NYTimes.com
The widening achievement gap between affluent and low-income students has received less attention than the divide between white and black students, which has narrowed significantly.
2-10-12NYTimes OP-Ed "Money and Morals"
- Money and Morals - NYTimes.com
Conservatives have started telling us that the growing inequality is about a decline in morals. But it’s mainly about money. For low-education men it's been all negative. Adjusted for inflation, wages of male h.s. grads have fallen 23% since 1973.
12-1-11Detroit Free Press EDITORIAL--Charter School Gamble for Michigan's Children
- Editorial: Legislators risk Michigan\'s children in charter gamble | Detroit Free Press | freep.com
The Michigan Legislature appears determined to prove that a wide-open school market will rocket the state's students to the head of the national class. But the experiment it is trying to inflict on children and their parents is ill-conceived and dang
8-26-11NYTimes OP-ED "When Schools Depend on Handouts" by Michael qa. Rebell and Jessica R. Wolf
- When Schools Depend on Handouts - NYTimes.com
Most state constitutions guarantee all students a sound, basic public education, rights that cannot be put on hold, even in tough times.
8-25-11NYTimes OP-ED "How to Fix Our Math Education" by Sol Garfunkel and David Mumford
- How to Fix Our Math Education - NYTimes.com
The current curriculum is not a good way to prepare a vast majority of high school students for life. The truth is that different sets of math skills are useful for different careers, and our math education should be changed to reflect this fact.
8-11TheNation "Can Teachers Alone Overcome Poverty? Steven Brill Thinks So"
- Can Teachers Alone Overcome Poverty? Steven Brill Thinks So | The Nation
The journalist blames teachers unions, not economic inequality, for students failure to achieve.
8-22-11NYTIMES OP-ED--"Our Children Are Not All Right" by Joel Bakan
- Corporate Interests Threaten Childrens Welfare - NYTimes.com
The 20th century witnessed a momentous shift that would ultimately threaten the welfare of children: the rise of the for-profit corporation.
8-22-11NYTimesBookReview "Class Warfare" by Steven Brill reviewed by Sara Mosle
- \'Class Warfare\' - By Steven Brill - Book Review - NYTimes.com
In Class Warfare, Steven Brill brings a sharp legal mind to the world of education reform and mounts a zealous case against Americas teachers unions.
7-17-11NYTimes--Charter School Battle Spreads to Affluent Suburban Districts
- In Millburn, N.J., a Revolt Against Charter Schools - NYTimes.com
Charters, normally thought of as a way to help poor areas, are being proposed in places that have good schools.
8-8-11Alternet--Corporate Assault on Public Schools" Noam Chomsky
- Chomsky: Public Education Under Massive Corporate Assault What\'s Next? | | AlterNet
Converting schools and universities into facilities that produce commodities for the job market, privatizing them, slashing their budgets do we really want this future?
7-12-11NYTimes--Union President Faults "School Reform from On High"
- AFT Chief Randi Weingarten Faults Teacher Reforms From on High - NYTimes.com
The president of the American Federation of Teachers called for education reform that emanates from teachers and their communities, rather than from those who blame teachers for everything.
7-11-10NYTimesMagazine--"No Seriously, No Excuses" by Paul Tough
- Reforming the School Reformers - NYTimes.com
"'...traditional strategies will not enable us to overcome the barriers to student learning posed by the conditions of poverty..' Reformers need to take concrete steps to address the whole range of factors that hold poor students back..."
6-5-11NYTimes "Learning to Read on Zero Dollars a Day" by Anthony Doerr
- Learning to Read on Zero Dollars a Day - NYTimes.com
Cutting teachers is one thing. But librarians? "...in my imagination libraries were little holy lands, as integral to a school as functioning toilets, or lockers, or bad pizza. They were a place where a child could learn that books could be mind-.."
5-30-11NYTimes Letters to the Editor
To the Editor:
The best use that Bill Gates could make of the fortune he spends on education would be to create the kind of schools that he and other extremely wealthy people send their children to: schools with small classes (not necessarily small schools), a good ratio of adults — teachers and support staff — to students, intensive remediation for those who need it, and enrichment of all kinds, including the arts, sports, technology, clubs and trips.
There’s no mystery about quality education. Wealthy people know exactly what it consists of and make sure their children get it. We need to help all the other children in America, and elsewhere, get it as well.
Brooklyn, May 22, 2011
The writer is a retired teacher.
5-22-11NYTimes--Bill Gates Pluses and Minuses on Education Reform
- Behind Grass-Roots School Advocacy, Bill Gates - NYTimes.com
Bill Gatess foundation is financing bands of educators to pose alternatives to union orthodoxies on issues like the seniority system and the use of student test scores to evaluate teachers.
The Death and Life of the Great American Public Education
4-28-11 Fresh Air--Diane Ravitch on Education Reform
Diane Ravitch was interviewed by Terry Gross on "Fresh Air." She was Assistant Secretary of Education in the Bush administration. She is not a fan of "no child left behind" nor of Obama's education policies. Here are some of her comments: (Not verbatim.)
Tests are being used as a blunt instrument against teachers and public schools.
The problem is one of failing communities more than failing teachers and public schools.
Charter schools have become an enormous entrepreneurial activity. Charter school chains are paying their executives $300,000 per year and spending huge sums on publicity claiming they are the solution to public school problems.
As a result of charter schools parents are being pitted against parents, teachers against teachers and students against students.
Charter schools are competing, not collaborating with public schools. They are taking over public school facilities and have more resources to work with.
We are doing everything to undermine public schools, very little to improve them.
The most successful nations have strong public school systems.
Teacher Unions are being attacked by conservatives in Wisconsin and other states in order to undermine their support for Democratic candidates rather than for education reform or budgetary reform.
Diane Ravitch is the author of a new book The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice are Undermining Education.
4-28-11 Listen to Diane Ravitch on Fresh Air
- Diane Ravitch: Standardized Testing Undermines Teaching : NPR
Former Assistant Secretary of Education Diane Ravitch explains why she was once an early advocate of No Child Left Behind, school vouchers and charter schools and what changed her mind.
Diane Ravitch Blog
- Diane Ravitch Website
Diane Ravitch is a professor of education at NY University and Assistant Secretary of Education in the Bush administration.
4-30-11NYTimes OP-ED--The High Cost of Low Teacher Salaries
- The High Cost of Low Teacher Salaries - NYTimes.com
To revamp our education system, blame teachers less and pay them more.
4-27-16NYTimes--"The Limits of School Reform" op-ed by Joe Nocera
- The Limits of School Reform - NYTimes.com
What happens outside of school matters just as much as what happens inside.
4-7-11NYTimes--Cathleen Black is Out as NYC School Superintendent
- Cathleen P. Black is Out as New York City Schools Chancellor - NYTimes.com
Cathleen P. Black is stepping down at the mayor's urging, officials say.
- The Fragile Success of School Reform in the Bronx - NYTimes.com
Ramn Gonzlezs middle school is a model for how an empowered principal can transform a troubled school, but the forces of reform are now working against him. This excellent long article is hopeful but it shows how hard inner city school reform is
4-7-11NYTimes--Bloggers Challenge President Obama on Standardized Tests
- Bloggers Challenge President on Standardized Testing - NYTimes.com
After remarks on testing in schools, President Obama has been challenged by several bloggers as opposing the very policies that his Education Department is putting into practice.
4-7-11NYTimes--Obama Takes Aim at Inequality in Education
- In New York, Obama Takes Aim at Inequality in Education - NYTimes.com
The presidents appearance at an event for the Rev. Al Sharptons Harlem-based organization came two days after he announced his intention to seek a second term.
3-29-11 Bobb plan would turn 41 public schools into charter schools.
- Robert Bobb\'s new plan for DPS: Turn 41 struggling schools into charters | Detroit Free Press | fre
Detroit Public Schools emergency financial manager Robert Bobb announced a radical restructuring plan for the struggling school system Saturday that he says would save the district millions of dollars by converting 41 poorly performing schools into
Detroit Public Schools are Distressed
- The Crooked Peg Blog Archive Detroit to Close Half of Its Public Schools
Detroit Public Schools would close nearly half of its schools in the next two years, and increase high school class sizes to 62 by the following year, under a deficit-reduction plan filed with the state. Bobb has said school closures, bigger classes
3-28-11NYTimes "How to raise the status of teachers?
- How to Raise the Status of Teachers - Room for Debate - NYTimes.com
Aside from a pay increase, what are other ways of attracting high-quality educators?
3-27-11NYTimes--NY Budget Deal Cuts School and Health Expenditures
- N.Y. Budget Deal Cuts Aid to Schools and Health Care - NYTimes.com
The $132.5 billion budget would end an income tax surcharge on high earners and impose big spending cuts on education and health care.
"Savage Inequalities" by Jonathan Kozol, Review
- SAVAGE INEQUALITIES
Kozol's book is a searing expose of the extremes of wealth and poverty in America's public school system and the blighting effect it has on poor children.
"Class Size and Student Achievement" Diane Rehm Show
- Class Size and Student Achievement | The Diane Rehm Show from WAMU and NPR
Many believe that small class sizes are critical to student achievement. But in the current environment, many states will be forced to lay off teachers and expand class sizes. Joining me to talk about what teacher layoffs could mean for students....
Reward and Incentive Programs are Ineffective and Even Harmful
- Reward and Incentive Programs are Ineffective -- Even Harmful - Total Quality Management | XING
What's wrong with reward, recognition, and incentive systems? First, they don't work There are no credible data to show that any long-term benefit results from such programs. There are data, however, that show that they do harm. They often set up a
J. Edwards Deming on Individual Performance Evaluation
Here is what W. Edwards Deming had to say about performance rating:
"Fair Rating is Impossible.
"A common fallacy is the supposition that it is possible to rate people; to put them in rank order of performance for next year, based on performance last year.
"The performance of anybody is the result of a combination of many forces--the person himself, the people that he works with, the job, the material that he works on, his equipment, his customer, his management, his supervision, environmental conditions (noise, confusion, poor food in the cafeteria).
"These forces will produce unbelievably large differences between people. In fact, as we shall se, apparent differences between people arise almost entirely from action of the system that they work in, not from the people themselves. A man not promoted is not able to understand why his performance is lower than someone else's. No wonder; his rating was the result of a lottery. Unfortunately, he takes his rating seriously."
Page 71, "Out of the Crisis," W. Edwards Deming
Deming's concepts are based on his work with corporations and other organizations. However, there is much in his approach that should be applied to public schools.
American Educator Spring 2003
- AFT - A Union of Professionals - American Educator
The "American Educator" is a good source of high quality articles on education.
Jonathan Kozol and America's Public School Dilemma
- Jonathan Kozol and America's Public School Dilemma
Late last year, I attended an event for Creative Nonfiction Week at the place I complain a lot about taking up much of my time: Columbia College Chicago. I went to see renowned educational activist,...
4-1-11Detroit Free Press--Drop in MEAP Scores Raises Red Flag at Several Michigan Schools
- Drop in MEAP scores raises more red flags at scrutinized schools | Detroit Free Press | freep.com
Seven schools found to have statistically improbable one-year gains in MEAP scores in 2009 have seen drops in scores for 2010 -- five of them sharp declines, two of them smaller drops -- according to test results released Thursday by the Michigan De
Daily Beast--Diane Ravich
- Michelle Rhee\'s Cheating Scandal: Diane Ravitch Blasts Education Reform Star - The Daily Beast
A new report shows student testing irregularities in D.C. under the leadership of star education reform advocate Michelle Rhee. Education expert Diane Ravitch blasts Rhee's misguided approach. Plus, Dana Goldstein says the report is no surprise.
Daily Kos--Questionable Results under Michelle Rhee
- Daily Kos: Investigation shows questionable test results under Michelle Rhee
DC chancellor Michelle Rhee made her name on union-busting and allegedly improving test scores in the city's public schools. The gains were always overhyped by her supportersnow it turns out that they may have been fraudulent. Anybody surprised?
Truth-out "Taking on the Teachers"
- Taking on the Teachers
Consortium Note: The American Right has embraced Reagans mantra that government is the problem and that dogma is being applied in a wide variety of ways, including a nationwide assault on the pay and job security of public school teachers.
4-1-11Detroit Free Press--MEAP Scores Improve
- Most kids pass the MEAP -- but that\'s about to get harder | Detroit Free Press | freep.com
Michigan students are passing the MEAP in droves, according to results released Thursday. But state officials warn that the results will look much different next year when the bar for passing the exam will rise substantially.
Cornell Alumni Magazine Interviews Two Alumnae, Michelle Rhee and Randi Weingarten
- Cornell Alumni Magazine - Pop Quiz
Two Cornellians on opposite sides of the education debatecontroversial former D.C. schools chancellor Michelle Rhee '92 and teachers' union leader Randi Weingarten '80sat down with CAM to talk about school reform. (But not together.)
Looking across the great divide: Inequality in Education
- Looking Across the Great Divide Part 1: A New Perspective on the Old Problem of Education Inequality
Outdated computers, shortages of essential books, broken down bathroomswe are all aware of the many complaints lodged against our public schools, especially in poor urban neighborhoods. And, a line of...
Looking Across the Great Divide:Education Inequality
- Looking Across the Great Divide Part 2: Education Inequality and What We Can Do About It
In the first installment of this Hub, I shared a very brief history of public education that shed some light on our modern dilemma. In addition, I proposed that the fundamental inequalities that exist in...
4-7-11FreePress--$400,000 Missing from School Funds in Highland Park, Michigan
- Highland Park schools\' $400K: Where did it go? | Detroit Free Press | freep.com
Highland Park Public Schools wrote nearly $400,000 in checks from 2007 through last year to a company that was supposed to oversee a radio campaign aimed at attracting students to the struggling district. The district says no ads have been created.
4-15-11Detroit Free Press--Fraud in Public School Administration
- With plea deal, one defendant left in Detroit Public Schools case | Detroit Free Press | freep.com
Sherry Washington is the last defendant standing. The Detroit gallery owner is the lone pending case in a Detroit Public Schools scandal involving inflated million-dollar invoices, kickbacks and expensive parties thrown on the school district's dime
4-17-11NYTimes--Michael Winerip--Public School Reformers' Backgrounds in Private Schools
- Many Pushing to Change Public Schools Attended Private Ones - NYTimes.com
Those who call themselves public school reformers are a diverse group, but a surprisingly large number of them attended private schools.
4-19-11NYTimes "A Better Way to Teach Math" by David Bornstein
- A Better Way to Teach Math - NYTimes.com
A grade-school math program based on the assumption that all children can achieve a high level of understanding.