Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

March 1, 2011
by Larry Ferlazzo
2 Comments

Interview Of The Month: Ted Appel, An Exceptional Principal

As regular readers know, each month I interview people in the education world about whom I want to learn more. You can see read those past interviews here.

Ted Appel is the exceptional principal at the school where I teach, Luther Burbank High School in Sacramento. It’s the largest inner-city high school in the city, and over half of our students are English Language Learners. Ted has also been interviewed by Learning First, and he and I have co-authored an article titled The Positive Impact Of English Language Learners At An Urban School.

What led you to teaching in the classroom, and what prompted your decision to become a principal?

I had been working in outdoor programs for youth at risk for a few years, which was very rewarding and fun, but I felt like school had a overpowering impact on a child’s feelings about being a successful person. I also became interested in the experiential education movement and wondered how it could be applied to classroom learning.

I went into administration because I believed I had received some good training in strong instructional practices and I thought I could have a broader impact by training other teachers in some of those strategies. I eventually became a principal because I realized it was important to have influence over the whole culture of the school in order to really impact the practices in the classroom.

What are the three best things you think you’ve done since you’ve become Burbank’s principal, and what might be three mistakes?

I think the best thing I’ve helped to do at Luther Burbank is create an environment where teachers who are committed to making a difference in students’ lives, have an opportunity to do that work. We’ve created structures, in which everyone has a part, that have resulted in an environment that is orderly, consistent, respectful and dynamic. As a result, we’ve also been able to attract the kind of idealistic, talented, innovative, committed people, an urban school needs in order to make a real difference in kids’ lives.

The other thing I try to do is talk to a lot of people, a lot. The decision making/improvement process is ongoing. I put a lot of ideas out into discussion, hear a lot of feedback and alternative ideas. I think this dynamic leads to a positive professional culture and results in good decisions and creative experiments.

The first big mistake I made when I started was to allow students to use cell phones in the halls during lunch and passing periods. There was an incredible outbreak of organized fights including people from off campus. The hall monitors came to speak with me after three weeks and said, “change the policy or we quit”. What I learned wasn’t just about cell phone rules. I learned that if I think it may be a good idea to make some kind of change, I needed to involve the people who have different perspectives and or would be affected by the decision.

I understand that I make a lot of decisions every day and so I make a lot of mistakes, or don’t do things as well as I could or should. I approach the job like a constant job interview. You try to anticipate issues or questions and prepare with the best approach you know. You often need to think on your feet for what you perhaps did not expect. And you constantly analyze what you said or did and realize how you could have approached it better.

For principals who want to spend some reflective time on their own practice, what might be some important questions you’d recommend they might want to ask themselves?

I think principals need to consider who they talk to. Are they sharing ideas and listening to teachers and staff or just other administrators at the site and central office?

Are the structures, rules, and customs of the school currently necessary and relevant or do they exist for reasons that have disappeared?

Do you believe in the programs and practices of your school, or are you just managing and complying with rules and regulations that have been handed to you?

In looking at the beliefs of those who often self-described as “school reformers,” what do you think might be helpful ideas and unhelpful ones, and why?

It seems that the basis of the current school reform movement, is the belief that teachers and schools are not sufficiently motivated to get better. Thus, competition, punishment and rewards geared to outcome goals are their “innovations” for change and improvement. I believe this creates perverse incentives to manipulate outcomes rather than encourage know how and motivate sound practice.

I also don’t think it is helpful to refuse to acknowledge that some students come to school with intellectual, social, and cultural advantages to be successful in school environments. Acknowledging this fact is not a surrender to poor results. It is merely recognizing what anyone working in a classroom sees every day. It also helps when trying to honestly analyze what is needed, in terms of different approaches and resources, to help students to be successful. We have no problem acknowledging this in art, music or athletics. Why is there such fear in acknowledging it in academics?

I think it can be valuable to give students nationally normed tests. But these tests should not be used to label schools as good or bad. They should be used as a means to evaluate practice and examine ways schools can get better at helping students improve in the skills being assessed.

Is there anything I haven’t asked you about that you’d like to share?

People want school improvement to come from a simple fix. With variables as complex as society itself, there will be no simple solutions for all schools and all kids. We need to approach improvement in education not as a fix but as an ongoing dynamic that is achieved through consistent commitment to a common ideal; all children, through education, are entitled to the widest possible array of intellectual, cultural, social, political and economic opportunity. This goal is certainly not easy, nor can we ever really know if it is fully realized. That understanding, that we will never have the absolute answer should not be a source of frustration, should be a source of energy and pride.

Thanks, Ted!

October 9, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo
2 Comments

A Report On EdSource Symposium On California Ed, Including What I Said About State Assessments

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I, along with 600 others, attended EdSource’s Symposium on California education this past Thursday.

You can read an EdSource article about it, EdSource symposium focuses on state’s “new vision for school success” and also watch whichever parts you want at the embedded YouTube video of the entire day that’s at the bottom of this post.

Here are a few highlights, along with some of the comments I made while on a panel discussing the Smarter Balanced tests:

The presentation on state education monies, by Mac Taylor from the state, was extremely informative. In fact, if you have a limited time, I’d suggest that his presentation is the one you want to watch if you live in California.

Here are a few tweets I sent out during his presentation:

Linda Darling-Hammon was up next:

I was on an afternoon panel about the Smarter Balanced assessments that was moderated by Linda.

Thanks to feedback I received from Ted Appel, Katie Hull, and colleagues at my school, I think I was able to make some relatively coherent comments that seemed to make sense to Linda and other panelists. Here are the points I made:

In response to the question about my experience with Smarter Balanced, I shared four concerns:

I can’t say with much certainty how aligned Smarter Balanced content is with Common Core we’re teaching. We’ve had a big focus on Common Core, but don’t really know if the content is aligned. I think that’s a big problem — I don’t think teachers really have an understanding of the test and its content and can’t say if it’s good or not.

Research has shown that familiarity with tech was a substantial issue for PARCC – based on what I saw in our school, I would not be surprised if it was the same. In some ways it measures familiarity with tech and not knowledge. That’s a big problem for a 100 percent free lunch school like ours.

We have a heavy emphasis on Social Emotional Learning Skills, including perseverance, at our school. And many of our teachers have , for years, met with students ahead of standardized test-taking and done goal-setting, discussed how it won’t measure how smart they are, but it’s an opportunity to demonstrate perseverance. And the feedback that I have gotten from students and teachers alike is the test is logistically confusing and, because of that, many more students just click away than formerly “bubbled” to get through the test. There is a high-degree of frustration. There are many types of answer choices – highlight, write, multiple choice – and you can’t move on until all are answered. The ELL accommodations confusing to me, much less the students.

We have access to the basic results when we look at the student online – basically a four digit number – but it doesn’t tell me anything I don’t know — it just says if standard met, nearly met, met or exceeded. It’s useless to inform teaching.

In response to a question about what assessment is useful at our school, I shared these assessments that actually inform my teaching and assist my students:

* We do a twice-a-year school wide writing assessment and teachers are pulled-out two days in the fall and two days in the spring to assess them and discuss what they mean for our teaching. You can read more about this process at “Instead of seeing students as Far Below Basic or Advanced, we see them as learners”

* In our English classes, we do reading fluency and cloze assessments three times a year. You can read more about them at The Best Resources On Reading Fluency (Including How To Measure It). If I have a ninth grader who reads 35 words a minute, that’s important to inform my instruction, including figuring out what additional support that student needs. If I have a student who reads at 200 words per minute but is getting F’s, then that tells me I need to find out what’s going on — issues at home, not motivated and need to figure out how I can help that student motivate him or herself. If the student is not feeling challenged, for example, perhaps he/she should go to our IB program.

* We are regularly visited by the Accrediting Commission for Schools Western Association of Schools, and they require a regular school self-examination of our practices. It some ways, it sounds similar to what is happening in Vermont now.

* And, of course, all of our International Baccalaureate assessments are evaluated by IB examiners outside of our school.

* One of the other panelists shared about portfolios students were required to show and present, and those sounded similar to what our students have to do in 12th grade as Senior Projects.

In response to a question about the role of tests in school or teacher accountability measures, I made these points (a special thanks to Ted Appel for helping me think through this – many of the words are really his):

I’d like to answer this question with a question: What is the purpose of the tests? Is it to help parents shop? Is it to label schools? If those are the purposes, then that can be achieved now just by looking at zip codes.

If it’s to help schools improve practice, how are they supposed to get the support they need to do that? If they don’t get it, the practice they change will be what they did before — push kids out (I can’t tell you how many ELLs and others were “counseled” out of other schools to come to ours) or game tests like they did with STAR (not challenge students who were on the bubble by putting them into higher level courses so they wouldn’t have to take the standardized tests for those subjects); or, as in the case of Washington DC school, encourage parents of “low-performers” to opt out of the tests.). Is the California Collaborative For Educational Excellence going to be up for that challenge? And how do they decide what “practices” need to be changed?  The bigger the role of test scores in school accountability measures, the fewer good practices will be enacted.

You might also be interested in The Best Resources For Learning About The “Next Generation” Of State Testing.

Here’s the video of the conference:

August 19, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

A Look Back: Compasses Or Road Maps?

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Next February, this blog will be celebrating its ten-year anniversary! Leading up to it, I’m re-starting a series I tried to do in the past called “A Look Back.” Each week, I’ll be re-posting a few of my favorite posts from the past ten years.

I wrote this post in 2009 and a version of it was published in Education Week Teacher a year later under the headline of Giving Classrooms a Purpose.

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I read, hear, and even write a lot about “techniques” that are supposed to improve schools and classroom instruction. Often times, professional development books and workshops (and teacher hand-outs at staff meetings) are filled with zillions of them — how to use multiple intelligences, technology, specific instructional strategies with students that have special needs, etc.

These techniques are obviously important.

I wonder, though, if we teachers and our students, schools, and districts might be better off if we spent a little more time focusing on — for lack of being able to come up with better terms — our “cultural orientations” or basic “ways of thinking”?

What am I talking about?

Please bear with me as share my thinking on all this. Usually, I don’t post a piece like this which is more of a “process post” — I don’t necessarily have as much clarity as I would like, and, instead, am sharing my thoughts and hoping that feedback from readers will helping move my thinking along.

Last week marked the 100th anniversary of Peter Drucker’s birth. Drucker was the renowned business and management philosopher, writer, theorist, analyst. His thinking also says a lot to community organizing (my previous career) and teaching (my present one). National Public Radio’s coverage of this anniversary pointed out that his most important idea was:

the importance of a company having a sense of mission or a purpose, and that that’s not identical with its strategy, it’s not identical with its business model, it’s why it exists and what social good or greater good that it’s serving. That’s a very important Drucker idea.

When I’m talking about a “cultural orientation” or “way of thinking,” I think mean something like what Drucker meant. But something more than “whatever is good for kids.”

I’d like to give three examples of what I mean — in the classroom, in a school and, in the context of schools connecting with parents.

IN A CLASSROOM

In the first part of each school year, in most of my classes I lead a discussion with students asking what they want our class to be — “A Community of Learners” or a “Classroom of Students.” I write about this more extensively in my book “Teaching English Language Learners: Strategies That Work” (which will be out next summer), but I’ll give a short description here.

I write the two columns on the overhead and give some examples of the difference between the two. In a classroom of students, a teacher does most of the talking. In a Community Of Learners, students work in small groups and are co-teachers. In a “classroom” people laugh when others make mistakes, while in a “community” people are supported when they take risks. In a “classroom” the teacher has to be always be the one to keep people focused, while in a “community” students take responsibility to keep themselves focused.

Most students say their previous classes had been more like a “Classroom of Students.” I ask students to share what other differences they might see between the two types. Here are a couple of examples students said this year:

In a “classroom” “students start a fight and end up hurting each other.” In a “community” “they don’t start a fight, they talk it out.”

In a “classroom” “the only way to succeed is doing exactly what the teacher says.” In a “community” “you have more than one choice in succeeding.”

After adding to the list, students then decide which one they’d rather have. No one has every chosen a “classroom of students.”

By starting with this basic “cultural orientation” or “way of thinking,” students developed their own ways of approaching (I guess you could almost call it their own “techniques”) how the class would operate. It provided a framework for looking at numerous issues throughout the whole school year, and respected their judgment and wants.

IN A SCHOOL:

Ted Appel has done a tremendous job working with teachers over the past few years at our school to develop a “cultural orientation” or “way of thinking.”  Basically, it’s not acceptable for students to not do well — everybody succeeds.  That way of thinking operates almost universally among the faculty, and is amazingly prevalent among students as well.

Our tutoring project, where students hire (and fire) teachers of their choice, is an example of this way of thinking. We didn’t set-up an after-school tutoring center and then blame the students for not showing-up. Ted and our staff began with the thinking that some students needed help, and looked at what were the barriers to them getting the most effective assistance they could get so they could do well and thought outside the box.

IN A PARENT ENGAGEMENT STRATEGY

In my book, Building Parent Engagement In Schools, I highlight the differences between parent involvement and parent engagement.  Some of those differences include the primary “involvement” tool schools use is their mouths to talk, while the primary “engagement” tool is their ears to listen.  Involvement is often about one-way communication, while engagement can be about two-way conversation.   The invitation to involvement is often “irritating” — challenging parents to do something the schools want them to do, while with engagement it’s often “agitation” — challenging parents to do something that they say they want to do.

Obviously a few examples are useful to illustrate each of those parent engagement elements, but if schools are committed to that kind of criteria, they can judge their own possible actions against them.  They don’t necessarily need a long laundry list of what they should or shouldn’t do.

I guess all I’m wondering is how many schools and districts are skipping looking  these big kinds of cultural orientations or ways of thinking?

I wonder if there should be more of an investment in developing our compasses instead of giving us road maps?

What do you think?

August 18, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

A Look Back: “Data-Driven” Versus “Data-Informed”

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Next February, this blog will be celebrating its ten-year anniversary! Leading up to it, I’m re-starting a series I tried to do in the past called “A Look Back.” Each week, I’ll be re-posting a few of my favorite posts from the past ten years.

I published this post in 2009, and it received a lot of positive feedback.  I later dramatically expanded on the topic in my The Best Resources Showing Why We Need To Be “Data-Informed” & Not “Data-Driven” list.

Two very talented educators — Ted Appel, the extraordinary principal we have at our school, and Kelly Young, creator of much of the engaging curriculum we use at our school through his Pebble Creek Labs — brought-up the same point in separate meetings with teachers at my school this week: The importance of not being “data-driven” and, instead, to be “data-informed.”

These conversations took place in the context of discussing the results of state standardized tests that came out last week. Here’s the point made by Ted:

If schools are data-driven, they might make decisions like keeping students who are “borderline” between algebra and a higher-level of math in algebra so that they do well in the algebra state test. Or, in English, teachers might focus a lot of energy on teaching a “strand” that is heavy on the tests — even though it might not help the student become a life-long reader. In other words, the school can tend to focus on its institutional self-interest instead of what’s best for the students.

In schools that are data-informed, test results are just one more piece of information that can be helpful in determining future directions.

I’ve been thinking about these conversations. Here is an example of how the perspective of being data-informed plays-out in my own teaching practice.

Typically, students in my classes show high-growth in state test results. This growth comes without “teaching to the test” (in fact, that is strongly discouraged at our school) and, instead, by focusing on developing life-long learners (again, which is our school-wide policy). I typically will spend thirty minutes or so teaching test-taking strategies, but that’s about it.

This past year, most of my students continued to demonstrate high-growth in the state test results. That is, everywhere except for my ninth-grade mainstream English class.

It was a hard class. Regular readers might remember this class by having read my post about it titled Have You Ever Taught A Class That Got “Out Of Control”?

The first semester was very difficult.  Lots of student transience, family problems, economic issues — the works.  Finally, I was able to get things under control at the beginning of the second semester.  I thought their subsequent work was good, but in the spirit of being data-informed, I can see that it’s possible that I might have lowered my standards.  Perhaps I was just thrilled that everybody was doing their work, seemed engaged, and was getting along that I “settled” for that.  I don’t think that was the case, but it’s possible.  In addition, the fact that the first semester was so chaotic meant that they received a full semester of less than high-quality instruction.

Reviewing the test results sparked this kind of reflection — on my own.  I certainly have not received any kind of pressure from our data-informed administrators.

As a result of this reflection, which was informed by data, I’ve made two decisions:

* I’m going to begin the classroom management program that I shared in my previous post from day one in my ninth-grade class.  If it took six weeks to move from extrinsic to intrinsic after a semester of chaos, I suspect it will take far less time at the beginning of the year.

* I’m going to make visits to the homes of most, if not all, of my ninth-grade students.  I usually make a lot of home visits, but the past two years they’ve been primarily to the home of my ESL students.  This year, I’m going to switch the focus.

Other than these two actions, I’ll continue to do what I’ve always done in my class — though I also believe I just become a better teacher each year with more experience.

Something tells me that a “data-driven” culture would have resulted in pressures to do something considerably differently.

What about you — is your school culture data-driven or data-informed?

June 20, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

My Ten Best BAM! Radio Shows In 2016 – So Far

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As regular readers know, I do a ten-minute weekly BAM! Radio show to accompany my Education Week Teacher columns.

I thought readers might be interested in my choices for the best shows I’ve done in 2016 – So Far.

I’m adding this list to All Mid-Year 2016 “Best” Lists In One Place.

You can see all my shows at All My BAM Radio Shows – Linked With Descriptions.

You might also be interested in My Twelve Best BAM! Radio Shows In 2015.

Here are My Twelve Best BAM! Radio Shows In 2016 – So Far (they are not in any particular order):

Epic Classroom Management Mistakes and How to Avoid Them with Gianna Cassetta and Karen Baptiste.

Bridging the Cultural Barrier with Immigrant Parents with Rusul Alrubail, Anna Bartosik and Jordan Lanfair.

Ed Tech Problems: Avoiding Those You Can, Managing Those You Can’t with Anne Jenks, Larissa Pahomov, and Jared Covili.

Teaching: If I Knew Then What I Know Now… with Roxanna Elden, Dave Stuart Jr., and Julia Thompson.

The Look and Feel of Culturally Responsive Instruction with Django Paris.

The Best Principal I’ve Ever Seen… with Ted Appel and Cathy Beck.

How Great Principals Help Teachers Grow: They Do This, Not That with Mark Estrada and Diana Laufenberg.

Why the Death of Paper Books May Be Greatly Exaggerated with Dan Willingham and Kristin Ziemke.

Student Grades Are In, Time to Reflect on Them with Kristina Doubet and Myron Dueck.

What Are the Best Ways to Assess Student Work? with Andrew Miller, Suzie Boss, and Meg Riordan.

June 19, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

The Best Articles, Videos & Posts On Education Policy In 2016 – So Far

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It’s time for another of my mid-year  “Best” lists (you can see all 1,600 “The Best…” lists here).

I’m adding this one to All Mid-Year 2016 “Best” Lists In One Place.

You might also be interested in:

The Best Articles, Videos & Posts On Education Policy In 2015 – Part Two

The Best Articles & Posts On Education Policy In 2015 – So Far

The Best Articles, Posts & Videos On Education Policy In 2014 – Part Two

The Best Articles & Posts On Education Policy In 2014 – So Far

The Best Articles, Videos & Posts On Education Policy In 2013 — Part Two

All My 2013 “The Best…” Lists (So Far) On Education Policy In One Place

All My 2012 “The Best…” Lists On Education Policy In One Place

The Best Articles, Videos & Posts On Education Policy In 2012 — Part Two

The Best Articles, Videos & Posts On Education Policy In 2012 — Part One

The Best Articles & Posts On Education Policy In 2011 — Part Two

The Best Articles & Posts On Education Polcy In 2011 — Part One

The Best Articles & Posts On Education Policy — 2010

The “Best” Articles (And Blog Posts) About Education Policy — 2009

The “Best” Articles About Education — 2008

The “Best” Articles About Education — 2007

Here are my choices for The Best Articles, Videos & Posts On Education Policy In 2016 – So Far (let me know what you think I’m missing) – these are not listed in any order of preference (I’m starting off with links to “Best” lists I’ve posted over the past few months that relate to ed policy):

The Best Resources For Understanding The Every Student Succeeds Act

The Best Resources On Student Absenteeism

The Best Resources For Learning About The Multilingual Education Act Ballot Initiative In California

The Best Resources For Learning About The Ins & Outs Of Reclassifying ELLs

The Best Resources For Learning About “Deeper Learning”

The Best Resources On Student Agency & How To Encourage It

The “Best” Lists Of Recommendations About What “Effective” Teachers Do

The Best Resources For Learning How The Every Student Succeeds Act Affects English Language Learners

The Best Education “Year-In-Review” Round-Ups For 2015

The Best Education Predictions For 2016

The Best Articles For Beginning To Understand Zuckerberg’s Announced $45 Billion “Charitable” Gift

The Best “Fair Isn’t Equal” Visualizations

Slate is published an impressive series of twelve long articles on race and schools – all in one week – and called Tomorrow’s Test. You can access all of them at the bottom of that introductory article.

Does Teaching Experience Increase Teacher Effectiveness? A Review of the Research is from The Learning Policy Institute. I’m adding it to The Best Articles For Helping To Understand Both Why Teacher Tenure Is Important & The Reasons Behind Seniority-Based Layoffs.

Why so many people are worried about teacher diversity, in two charts is from The Washington Post. I’m adding it to A Collection Of Useful Posts, Articles & Videos On Race & Racism.

Competing Strands Of Educational Reform Policy: Can Collaborative School Reform and Teacher Evaluation Reform Be Reconciled? is a new and important paper from The Shanker Institute. It raises more questions than provides answers, but they’re very important questions.

School Funding Maps:  Hot on the heels of NPR publishing an impressive interactive on school funding across the United States, The New York Times unveiled one that looks even more impressive. Go to their Money, Race and Success: How Your School District Compares page, pop in the name of your school district, and it will vividly demonstrate how students in that district compare with others in academic achievement, school funding, and ethnic make-up of the student population.

Advancing Deeper Learning Under ESSA: Seven Priorities is from Stanford. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About “Deeper Learning.”

When School Districts Get Deliberate About Desegregation is from The Atlantic. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About School Desegregation (& Segregation) – Help Me Find More.

Another Flaw In Using Value-Added Measurement For Teacher Evaluation is a post I wrote about an important recent study.  My blog post itself is not really worthy of inclusion in this list, but the study combined with the little context I give is important.

The Harvard Business Review – of all places – has published what I think is the most thorough and devastating critique that I’ve seen of performance pay – see Stop Paying Executives for Performance. It’s targeting executive pay but, with a few minor changes in wording, the article can be applied to teacher pay and evaluation, as well as student assessment. It’s short, and definitely worth the read.

“Throwing money at the problem” may actually work in education is from The Washington Center For Equitable Growth. I’m adding it to The Best Sites For Learning That Money Does Matter For Schools.

A Community Organizer’s Definition Of Leadership – How Can It Be Applied To Education? (Part One) is a post I wrote that people might find useful.

Stop Humiliating Teachers is a great new essay at The New Yorker. I’m definitely adding it to The Best Articles Providing An “Overall” Perspective On Education Policy.

Comparing Paper-Pencil and Computer Test Scores: 7 Key Research Studies is an important article over at Education Week (Report: Kids who took Common Core test online scored lower than those who used paper is a similar one at The Washington Post).

Stop repeating nonsense about ‘bad’ teachers. Just. Stop it. is from Icing On The Cake. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About Effective Student & Teacher Assessments.

Chicago Public Schools teachers and students need more than loveis by Ray Salazar.

Help wanted: California school districts scramble to hire teachers is a nice article by reporter Diana Lambert appearing in The Sacramento Bee today. It features how our school supports student teachers (created by Jim Peterson and Ted Appel), and you can read more about it at thethree-part series at my Education Week Teacher column on…how to support student teachers.

Ranking Is Not Measuring is by Peter Greene. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About Effective Student & Teacher Assessments.

New Study Suggests That Teacher Observations Should Focus More On Teacher Inputs, Less On Student Outcomes is a post I wrote that is on this “Best” list primarily because of some of the context it provides to links in it.

New Report: Does Money Matter in Education? Second Edition is from The Shanker Institute. I’m adding it to The Best Sites For Learning That Money Does Matter For Schools.

New Study Finds Big Results From Ethnic Studies Classes

Statistic Of The Day: How Much Do Teachers Spend Out Of Their Own Pockets For Supplies?

Video: Jonathan Kozol On Savage Inequalities

The Myth of Unions’ Overprotection of Bad Teachers: Evidence from the District-Teacher Matched Panel Data on Teacher Turnover is a new research paper I learned about through The Shanker Institute. Here’s an excerpt:

The data confirms that, compared to districts with weak unionism, districts with strong unionism dismiss more low-quality teachers and retain more high-quality teachers. The empirical analysis shows that this dynamic of teacher turnover in highly unionized districts raises average teacher quality and improves student achievement.

Study Finds Teachers Whose Students Achieve High Test Scores Often Don’t Do As Well With SEL Skills

May 29, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

This Week’s “Round-Up” Of Useful Posts & Articles On Ed Policy Issues

Here are some recent useful posts and articles on educational policy issues (You might also be interested in The Best Articles & Posts On Education Policy In 2015 – Part Two):

Changing The Narrative: Leveraging Education Policy To Address Segregation is from The Shanker Institute. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About School Desegregation (& Segregation) – Help Me Find More.

Recycling Poverty, Segregated Schools, and Academic Achievement: Then and Now is by Larry Cuban. I’m adding it to the same list.

Now is the time to experiment with inspections for school accountability is from The Brookings Institution and, as its written, is a terrible idea. However, our former principal, Ted Appel, and I have spoken about the advantages of the kind of “inspections” done by the WASC (Accrediting Commission for Schools Western Association of Schools and Colleges), which has a group visiting over a period of days and which is combined with months of self-reflection by school faculty, administrators, students and staff as a potentially viable alternative for accountability.

“Transforming” Public Schools: Enough already with an Overhyped Word! is by Larry Cuban.

What Guides My Thinking on School Reform: Pulling the Curtain Aside is by Larry Cuban. I’m adding it to The Best Articles Providing An “Overall” Perspective On Education Policy.

Leaked Questions Rekindle Debate Over Common Core Tests is from The New York Times. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About The “Next Generation” Of State Testing.

Lesson Study: When Teachers Team Up to Improve Teaching is from MindShift. I’m adding it to The Best Resources On Professional Development For Teachers — Help Me Find More.
‘The idea that strong teacher unions impede education quality is ludicrous’ is from TES. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning Why Teachers Unions Are Important.

States that tie higher education funding to performance have it all wrong, report says is from The Washington Post.

I’m adding these next two resources to The Best Resources For Learning About Effective Student & Teacher Assessments:

Teacher Evaluation That Goes Beyond Check Boxes is by David Edelman

REASSESSING TEACHER ASSESSMENTS is a series of five articles (of mixed quality) at Ed Week.

I’m adding these next two articles to The Best Resources On The No Child Left Behind Reauthorization Process (yes, I’ve got to update the title of that post):

Education Department proposes rules for judging schools is from The Washington Post.

U.S. Dept. of Education releases draft regulations for new federal law is from Ed Source.

I’m adding this Ed Week series to The Best Resources For Learning About The Role Of Private Foundations In Education Policy:

Silver Bullets and Solutionism in Education Philanthropy

‘There’s an App for That’: Philanthropy’s Billion Dollar Bets

Getting In: The Challenges of Access to Elite Foundations

Into the Classroom: A Lesson on Philanthropy and Economic Inequality

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