New papers suggest that U.S. teacher quality never declined as badly as an oft-cited 2010 report said.
New Research Rebuts Claims About Low US Teacher Quality.
The Hechinger Report (1/26) reports that McKinsey and Company issued a report in 2010 which argued that nations with “top performing school systems draw teachers from the best and brightest in their societies, but in the United States, almost half of new teachers come from the bottom third.” However, new research suggests that “US teacher quality never declined as badly as that report said, and by 2010 had already turned around markedly for the better.”
The feds told Texas that its teacher evaluation system isn't coming close to cutting the mustard when it comes to what's expected for states with NCLB waivers.
ED Rejects Texas Teacher Evaluation System, Raising Waiver Concerns.
The Houston Chronicle (1/26) reports that ED “has rejected Texas’ proposed teacher and principal evaluation method,” placing the status of the state’s bid for an NCLB waiver in question. Meanwhile, “Texas officials defended their decisions against the criticisms Friday, spurring rumors the state is considering whether to drop its No Child Left Behind waiver request.” The Chronicle explains that under current law, state education authorities cannot mandate guidelines for evaluations systems to districts.
Alyson Klein writes at the Education Week (1/26)”Politics K-12” blog that ED “told Texas that its teacher evaluation system isn’t coming close to cutting the mustard” for waiver states, and characterizes Texas Commissioner Michael Williams’ response as being resistant to Federal authority. She reports that Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education Deb Delisle sent a letter including “a long, long list of issues with Texas’ waiver,” but “doesn’t say anything in her letter about putting Texas on high risk status, nor is there any threat to revoke the waiver.”
The Texas Tribune (1/23) explains that the state “is piloting a system that uses standardized tests in a limited way, Texas education officials say they do not have the authority to require districts to use a specific evaluation measure.” This piece calls this story the latest twist in “almost two years of negotiations over the terms of the waiver.”
The Austin (TX) American Statesman (1/26, Subscription Publication) adds that Delisle outlined “a variety of concerns the federal department has with the state’s new evaluation system, which links teacher assessments with student performance on standardized tests for the first time, including that it has no mechanism for ensuring that every school district uses it.”
"Science in the Classroom is an excellent resource for high school teachers and university professors who want to integrate the latest breaking research into their lesson plans. The project consists of a team of editors from the world-renowned journal Science, who work with an advisory board of scientists and science teachers to produce content designed for the classroom. On the site, readers may click on either High School or University to choose their target audience. Topics may be divided into Physical or Biological sciences (or choose "Any" to peruse all articles). Click on an article to read the editor's introduction and annotations. Discussion questions are listed throughout. In addition, each article is accompanied by Activities and Teaching Resources, which can be downloaded as PDF files."
Chancellor Carmen Fariña is expected to announce that principals will report to district superintendents, dispensing with a core philosophy of the Bloomberg administration.
New York Chancellor Centralizing School Management.
The New York Times (1/22, Taylor, Subscription Publication) reports that New York City Chancellor Carmen Fariña, in a move that reverses “one of the core management philosophies” of the Bloomberg administration, “is expected to announce changes on Thursday that will restore a centralized hierarchy to New York City’s schools.” Under the new policy, “most principals will report to superintendents and to regional centers,” which would in turn report to the chancellor’s office, the Times reports. The piece explains that Joel Klein, the longest-serving chancellor under former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, “believed that principals were most successful when they had the most freedom.” However, Fariña has said that this system “left struggling schools with too little supervision.”
Cuomo Backs Continued NYC Mayoral Control. The AP (1/22) reports that in his State of the State address, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo “is advocating continuing mayoral control of New York City public schools,” noting that he “said Wednesday that he would continue allowing Mayor Bill de Blasio” to “run the schools.”
"The principal’s job is often called the loneliest in K-12 education, but it’s just as fitting to call it the toughest.
Hours are long. Demands come from every direction: the central office, teachers, students, parents, and the community. And no one else in a school has the same responsibilities.
Managing buses, budgets, and buildings is still central to the job, but the current generation of principals—and the generation that will succeed them—also must oversee colliding rollouts of some of the most dramatic shifts in public schooling in more than a decade: more rigorous academic standards, new assessments, and retooled teacher-evaluation systems."
While American students have high levels of educational achievement and decent test scores, they may also experience high levels of social stress and poverty.
Study Finds High Inequality, High Levels Of Stress For US Students.
The Huffington Post (1/21, Klein) reports that a new report “argues that more than just test scores should be taken into consideration when comparing countries’ education systems.” The study from The Horace Mann League and the National Superintendents Roundtable compared school systems in the US, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK, Finland, and China. Gary Marx, president of The Horace Mann League, said in a statement, “The goal was to look at the whole iceberg, not just the tip – and provide a clearer snapshot of each country’s performance, including its wealth, diversity, community safety, and support for families and schools.” In the US, the researchers “found high levels of economic inequality, low levels of support for families and higher levels of social stress.”
The new test will correspond with the Common Core Standards—the controversial math and reading benchmarks whose design and implementation Coleman happened to spearhead before taking over the College Board. That means the new SAT could have the opposite of its intended effect, at least in the near term, closing opportunities for students who aren’t yet well-versed in the standards. Kids who lack access to in-person test preparation from tutors like me—who are trained to analyze the new test material and develop strategies for raising scores—could also suffer. The most vulnerable students are those who live in low-income areas or don’t speak English as a first language.
If it’s been a while since you’ve returned to ReadWriteThink, I urge you to consider a visit today.
The quality portal, rich with free resources and sponsored by the International Reading Association (IRA), the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) and the Verizon Foundation has grown even more interactive.
So what’s new? There’s an array of simple, elegant mobile apps available for iOS and Android that may be discovered by browsing grade level, type, learning objectives and theme."
Three Principals Honored By NASSP For Technology Leadership.
The National Association of Secondary School Principals (1/23) announces “three extraordinary and tech-savvy school leaders have been selected as 2015 NASSP Digital Principals for integrating digital media in their efforts to improve instruction, student achievement and their own leadership.” The winners, who will be recognized at next month’s NASSP Conference Ignite ‘15, are: John Bernia of Oakview Middle School in Oakland Township, Mich., James Richardson of Buck Lodge Middle School in Prince George’s County, Md., and Bill Ziegler of Pottsgrove High School in Pottstown, Pa.
The Orangeburg (SC) Times And Democrat (1/21) reports that the South Carolina Supreme Court has “put the state’s leadership on notice that it must come forward with a plan for improvements in the wake of the justices’ decision in a long-standing lawsuit regarding educational inequities in rural districts.” The piece argues that a “shortage of teachers in rural and poor districts” is a key part of the schools’ problems, and calls on the state legislature to back Gov. Nikki Haley’s Homegrown Teacher Initiative, which “offers high-school students who graduate from an eligible district four years of subsidized tuition at any public college or university in the state in exchange for not less than two years of teaching in their home district or another eligible district.”
Today, U.S. Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Rob Portman (R-OH), co-chairs of the Senate Career and Technical Education (CTE) Caucus, announced that they will renew their push for CTE.
US Senators To Introduce CTE Bill.
The Augusta (VA) Free Press (1/21) reports on a bill being sponsored by US Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA), Rob Portman (R-OH), and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) that “would raise the quality of Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs” in US schools. Some of the things the bill would do to raise the quality of CTE programs in schools, include, defining “what constitutes a rigorous CTE curriculum and requiring Perkins grant recipients to incorporate key elements in their programs” and allowing “states and localities to use Perkins grant funding to establish CTE-focused academies.”
Student achievement in LI's public schools reflects a widening gap between the richest and poorest
Report Details Gap Between Rich, Poor Long Island Districts.
Newsday (1/20) reports that a new report “sponsored by the Long Island Education Coalition, which represents school superintendents, teacher unions and other groups, and by the Long Island Association, the region’s largest business and civic group,” indicates that “student achievement in Long Island’s public schools, while generally high, reflects a deep and widening gap between the richest and poorest districts.” The report shows “that just 19 percent of eighth-graders in selected poor districts in Nassau and Suffolk counties passed a challenging new test in English Language Arts administered in 2013,” while 57.1% of students in wealthy districts passed the test. The article reports that the New York Association of School Business Officials and other groups “have concluded that restoring Gap Elimination Adjustment cuts within a single year would benefit mostly districts of moderate wealth, because the poorer districts already have had most of that money returned.”
Researchers have found that something as small as text message reminders can help children born into poor families close the gap with richer students.
"A child born into a poor family has only a 9 percent chance of getting a college degree, but the odds are 54 percent for a child in a high-income family. These gaps open early, with poor children less prepared than their kindergarten classmates.
Researchers have been quietly finding small, effective ways to improve education. They have identified behavioral “nudges” that prod students and their families to take small steps that can make big differences in learning. These measures are cheap, so schools or nonprofits could use them immediately."
Mel Riddile's insight:
These messages communicate a simple message to students--we believe in you. If schools did not believe that students could succeed, they would not have reading programs. They would not text students.