Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

July 30, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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“‘Myths & Lies’ That Threaten Our Schools: An Interview With David Berliner & Gene Glass”

‘Myths & Lies’ That Threaten Our Schools: An Interview With David Berliner & Gene Glass is my latest post at Education Week Teacher.

In it, David C. Berliner and Gene V. Glass answer a few questions about their book, “50 Myths & Lies That Threaten America’s Public Schools.”

Here are a couple of excerpts:

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February 3, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Excellent Articles In This Month’s Issue Of ASCD Educational Leadership

As usual, there are several excellent articles in this month’s new issue of ASCD’s Educational Leadership magazine.

Its theme is “Improving Schools: What Works?”

Here are several that are freely accessible on the Web:

Trust, But Verify is by David C. Berliner and Gene V Glass and provides a good analysis of how to interpret education research. Here’s an excerpt:

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I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Understanding How To Interpret Education Research.

Smarter Charters is by Richard D. Kahlenberg and Halley Potter. I’m adding it to The Best Posts & Articles Analyzing Charter Schools.

How We Know Collaboration Works is by Greg Anrig. I’m adding it to The Best Posts & Articles About The Importance Of Teacher (& Student) Working Conditions.

Research Says / To Go Fast, Direct. To Go Far, Empower is by Bryan Goodwin. Here’s an extended quote from it:

A-recent-study-involving

I’m adding it to the same list.

Power Up! / Helping to Close the Digital Divide is by Doug Johnson. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About Schools Providing Home Computers & Internet Access To Students.

November 4, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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“Using Teacher Evaluations ‘To Promote Growth'”

Using Teacher Evaluations ‘To Promote Growth’ is part Two in my Education Week Teacher series on…teacher evaluation.

It features contributions on the teacher evaluation process from Julian Vasquez Heilig (with Lisa Hernandez), Ben Spielberg, David Berliner and Paul Bruno.

Here are some excerpts:

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July 31, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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This Week’s “Round-Up” Of Useful Posts & Articles On Education Policy

Here are some recent good posts and articles on educational policy issues:

“Stupid, absurd, non-defensible”: New NEA president Lily Eskelsen García on the problem with Arne Duncan, standardized tests and the war on teachers is from Salon.

The Problem Isn’t Teacher Recruiting; It’s Retention is from The Journal. I’m adding it to The Best Posts & Articles About The Importance Of Teacher (& Student) Working Conditions.

Lessons from a school that scrapped a longer student day and made time for teachers is from The Hechinger Report. I’m adding it to the same list.

Teachers Can’t Be Effective Without Professional Working Conditions is from Gatsby in LA, and I’m adding it to the same list.

Low Salaries Keep Many Teachers Out Of The Middle Class: Report is from The Huffington Post. I’m adding this, too, to the same list.

New York Educators Fight Back on Attacks to Tenure is from The New York Times.

David Berliner Responds to Economists Who Discount Role of Child Poverty is from Diane Ravitch’s blog. I’m adding it to The Best Places To Learn What Impact A Teacher & Outside Factors Have On Student Achievement.

Let’s Have a Moratorium On Sports Analogies In Education is by Paul Bruno.

Will Free Online Courses Ever Replace a College Education? is from The Atlantic. I’m adding it to The Best Posts & Articles On MOOC’s — Help Me Find More.

Why public education needs teachers unions is by Gary Ravini. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning Why Teachers Unions Are Important.

A Double Dose of Math Has Diminishing Returns, Study Finds is from Education Week.

July 26, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Are Researchers Who Helped Popularize VAM Having Second Thoughts?

Two-and-a-half years ago, economists Raj Chetty, John Friedman, and Jonah Rockoff published an extremely influential and well-known study that popularized Value-Added Measurements as a teacher evaluation tool and has caused huge damage to teachers, students and their families. You can see a collection of commentaries on their study here. They have also been public advocates of policy solutions using their studies as evidence (that same link will lead you to examples).

Flashforward to now. Gene V. Glass (you will be able to see an interview I did with he and his co-author David Berliner next week in my Ed Week blog — their book is titled 50 Myths and Lies That Threaten America’s Public Schools: The Real Crisis in Education)> just tweeted out a new report from those same three researchers that indicate they might be having second thoughts.

It seemed to me a bit odd — they seemed to be defending VAM for most of it, but then ended with this kicker:

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Interesting…

I’m adding this info to The Best Resources For Learning About The “Value-Added” Approach Towards Teacher Evaluation.

July 14, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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The New Yorker’s “Wrong Answer” Feature Is The Must-Read Education Article Of The Summer

The New Yorker, two months after publishing an excellent article on the school reform fiasco in Newark which made The Best Articles & Posts On Education Policy In 2014 – So Far list) has now published an extraordinary feature on the Atlanta testing scandal — Wrong Answer: In an era of high-stakes testing, a struggling school made a shocking choice — by Rachel Aviv. It’s freely available online.

The “go-to” quotations are numerous, and here are a few that are just the tip of the iceberg. After the excerpts, I include links to related “The Best” lists, though you might want to start-off at The Best Posts & Articles About The Atlanta Testing Scandal:

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After more than two thousand interviews, the investigators concluded that forty-four schools had cheated and that a “culture of fear, intimidation and retaliation has infested the district, allowing cheating—at all levels—to go unchecked for years.” They wrote that data had been “used as an abusive and cruel weapon to embarrass and punish.” Several teachers had been told that they had a choice: either make targets or be placed on a Performance Development Plan, which was often a precursor to termination. At one elementary school, during a faculty meeting, a principal forced a teacher whose students had tested poorly to crawl under the table.

To explain the improvement in scores, [Superintendent] Hall told the investigators that “an effective teacher three years in a row will completely close the gap between a child born in poverty and a child born to a middle-income family.” This theory, in its earliest form, derives from a study by William L. Sanders, a statistician formerly at the University of Tennessee, but the findings, which have contributed to a nationwide effort to rate teachers rigorously, have been overstated to the point of becoming a myth. According to a recent statement by the American Statistical Association, most studies show that teachers account for between one and fourteen per cent of variability in test scores.

John Ewing, who served as the executive director of the American Mathematical Society for fifteen years, told me that he is perplexed by educators’ “infatuation with data,” their faith that it is more authoritative than using their own judgment. He explains the problem in terms of Campbell’s law, a principle that describes the risks of using a single indicator to measure complex social phenomena: the greater the value placed on a quantitative measure, like test scores, the more likely it is that the people using it and the process it measures will be corrupted. “The end goal of education isn’t to get students to answer the right number of questions,” he said. “The goal is to have curious and creative students who can function in life.” In a 2011 paper in Notices of the American Mathematical Society, he warned that policymakers were using mathematics “to intimidate—to preëmpt debate about the goals of education and measures of success.”

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Here are some related “The Best” lists:

The Best Places To Learn What Impact A Teacher & Outside Factors Have On Student Achievement

The Best Resources Showing Why We Need To Be “Data-Informed” & Not “Data-Driven”

The Best Posts On How To Prepare For Standardized Tests (And Why They’re Bad)

The Best Posts Debunking The Myth Of “Five (Or Three) Great Teachers In A Row”

June 13, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

This Week’s “Round-Up” Of Useful Posts & Articles on Education Policy

'UTLA Protest Against Principal' photo (c) 2014, Clotee Allochuku - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Here are some recent important posts and articles on educational policy issues:

Of course, the big news this week was the awful Vergara decision. Here are some good pieces that have come out and that I’m adding to California Court Rules It’s All The Teachers’ Fault, which is where I’ve been collecting post-court-decision analyses. You can also find a lot of background info at The Best Resources On California Court Case Attacking Teacher’s Rights (I used the photo to illustrate this post because of LA Supt Deasy’s public support of the ruling):

AFT’s Weingarten smacks Arne Duncan about his praise for Vergara decision is from The Washington Post.
Tenure Is Not the Problem is by Richard Kahlenberg.

Taking On Teacher Tenure Backfires is by Jesse Rothstein and appeared in The New York Times.

Fuzzy Math: The guesstimate that struck down California’s teacher tenure laws. is from Slate.

“Strict scrutiny” of Vergara ruling a setback for California teachers is by David B. Cohen.

A silver lining in the Vergara decision? is from The Washington Post.

Why that ruling against teacher tenure won’t help your schoolchildren appeared in The LA Times.

Here’s a great video response from National Education Association President Dennis Van Roekel:

Here are posts on other policy topics:

Is Teacher Attrition Actually Increasing? is from The Shanker Blog.

Unions and the Concept of ‘Adult Interests’ is from Ed Week. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning Why Teachers Unions Are Important.

The VA and VAM is by Gene Glass.

Morality, Validity, and the Design of Instructionally Sensitive Tests is by David Berliner and appeared in Ed Week. Here’s an excerpt:

A consensus is that outside of school factors account for about 60% of the variance in student test scores, while schools account for about 20% of that variance (Haertel, 2013; Borman and Dowling, 2012; Coleman et al., 1966). Further, about half of the variance accounted for by schools is attributed to teachers. So, on tests that may be insensitive to instruction, teachers appear to account for about 10% of the variance we see in student achievement test scores (American Statistical Association, 2014). Thus outside-of-school factors appear 6 times more powerful than teachers in effecting student achievement.

I’m adding it to The Best Places To Learn What Impact A Teacher & Outside Factors Have On Student Achievement.

Gates Foundation urges delay in using tests for teacher evaluation
is from The Washington Post.

April 12, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

This Week’s Round-Up Of Good Posts & Articles On Education Policy

'OUR KIDS MATTER' photo (c) 2008, William Murphy - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Here are some relatively recent useful posts and articles on education policy issues:

As California standardized testing gains steam, help center ‘inundated’ with teacher calls is from Southern California Public Radio. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About The “Next Generation” Of State Testing.

Students are test-driving new Common Core exams. You can too is a post from The Hechinger Report. It includes links to practice tests from the two testing consortia. The ones from PARCC have an answer key, though, at first glance, the SBAC ones do not (let me know if I just missed it). I’m adding this info to the same list, and I’m also adding it to A Beginning “The Best…” List Of Free & Decent Online Practice Sites For State Tests.

If Economists Studied Education Research, Would They Still Promote Value-Added Evaluations? is by John Thompson. I’m adding it to The Best Resources On California Court Case Attacking Teacher’s Rights.

Guest commentary: Teachers’ working conditions are students’ learning conditions is from The Contra Costa Times. I’m adding it to the same list.

Teacher of the Year to Union President is a good profile of the next President of the National Education Association.

Top 5 Myths and Lies About Teachers and Their Profession is from NEA Today.

Koch brothers help Kansas lawmakers strip teachers of tenure is from The Washington Post.

How ‘colorblind’ education reform policies actually ignore racial inequality is also from The Washington Post.

What’s The Evidence on School Devices and Software Improving Student Learning? is by Larry Cuban. I’m adding it to The Best Research Available On The Use Of Technology In Schools.

David Berliner on PISA and Poverty is from Diane Ravitch’s blog. I’m adding it to The Best Posts & Articles On 2012 PISA Test Results.

CPS fails to nurture a true vision for charters is from Catalyst. I’m adding it to The Best Posts & Articles Analyzing Charter Schools.