Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

October 1, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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The Best Posts & Articles On The Teacher & Student Protests In Colorado

You may have heard about the protests in Colorado in the Jefferson County School District. The School Board wants to change the Advanced Placement history curriculum to make it more “patriotic.” And that’s just one of a number of ridiculous policy changes the Board is trying to make.

Here are a few recent articles:

In Colorado, a Student Counterprotest to an Anti-Protest Curriculum is from The New York Times.

Colorado: Sickouts Close Schools Again is from The New York Times.

Ben Carson: New AP U.S. history course will make kids want to ‘sign up for ISIS’ is from The Washington Post.

Colorado School Board Votes to Ban Students is from The Borowitz Report.

Colorado teachers stage mass sick-out to protest US history curriculum changes is from The Guardian.

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September 29, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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This Week’s “Round-Up” Of Useful Posts & Articles On Ed Policy

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

Why Don’t We Have Real Data on Charter Schools? is by Pedro Noguera in The Nation. I’m adding it to The Best Posts & Articles Analyzing Charter Schools.

Don’t Let Distractions Erase Genuine Critiques Of Rhee And Campbell is by Sabrina Joy Stevens.

Fixing the Best Schools in the World is a very interesting story about China’s schools that appeared in Business Week.

Informal + Formative = Informative Assessments is from Wag The Dog and has a good “take” on personalized learning. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Understanding “Personalized Learning.”

Arne Duncan’s “staggering statement”: Why ed reformers are having second thoughts is an interesting interview with Dana Goldstein that appeared in Salon.

What You Need To Know About Misleading Education Graphs, In Two Graphs is from The Shanker Blog. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Understanding How To Interpret Education Research.

Student Course Evaluations Get An ‘F’ is from NPR. I’m adding it to The Best Posts On Students Evaluating Classes (And Teachers).

Venture Capitalists Are Poised to ‘Disrupt’ Everything About the Education Market is from The Nation. I’m adding it to A Beginning “The Best…” List On The Dangers Of Privatizing Public Education.

Rotten to the Core: How an Apple mega-deal cost Los Angeles classrooms $1 billion
is from Salon. I’m adding it to A Very Beginning List Of The Best Articles On The iPad Debacle In Los Angeles Schools.

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September 24, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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This Week’s “Round-Up” Of Useful Posts, Articles & Videos On Ed Policy

Here are some recent useful posts, articles and videos related to education policy:

Laura H. Chapman: When Economic Language Corrupts Educational Practice is from Diane Ravitch’s blog. I’m adding it to The Best Posts & Articles About The Role Of Economists In Education.

State needs a ‘grand bargain’ on teachers’ effectiveness, obstacles appeared in the Los Angeles Times. I’m adding it to The Best Resources On California Court Case Attacking Teacher’s Rights.

In Colorado, a Student Counterprotest to an Anti-Protest Curriculum is from The New York Times.

Common Core calls for kids to read books that ‘frustrate’ them. Is that a good idea? appeared in The Washington Post. I’m adding it to The Best Articles Sharing Concerns About Common Core Standards.

Has “Education Post” Already Changed Its “Kinder, Gentler” Tune? is by John Thompson and I’m adding it to the same list.

Bill Clinton: Charter Schools Must Be Held To ‘The Original Bargain’ is from The Huffington Post.

The True Story of Public Education in America is by Randi Weingarten. I’m adding it to The Best Articles Pointing Out That Our Schools Are Not Failing.

Why Do Teachers Quit? is from The Atlantic. I’m adding it to The Best Posts & Articles About The Importance Of Teacher (& Student) Working Conditions.

Education researchers don’t check for errors — dearth of replication studies is from The Hechinger Report. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Understanding How To Interpret Education Research.

How to Tell If You Should Trust Your Statistical Models is from The Harvard Business Review. I’m adding it to the same list.

What Happens When You Stop Testing and Start Teaching
is from TIME.

The PBS News Hour had an interesting segment on Is There Too Much Testing In The Public Schools? Here’s the video, followed by a quote from it:

we-all-recognize-as

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September 21, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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“Can a Computer Replace Your Doctor?” Or Your Teacher?

Can a Computer Replace Your Doctor? is an article in today’s New York Times.

It’s another health-care related article that can easily be applied to education.

I’m adding it to The Best Articles Highlighting Parallel Critiques Of Increasing School & Health Care “Efficiency.”

Here’s an excerpt:

So-hurrah-for-technology

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September 19, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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This Week’s “Round-Up” Of Useful Posts & Articles On Ed Policy

September 18, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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VERY Interesting Info On The Results Of KIPP’s “Character Education” Program

The Fordham Institute has just published a post by Laurence Steinberg titled “Is character education the answer?”

It shares some fascinating research results on the KIPP charter schools’ well-publicized character education program.

The results came from a Mathematica study that compared KIPP students with those who did not win lotteries to attend the KIPP schools. Of course, the obvious flaw in such a study is that both groups of students have highly-motivated parents/families. It’s always surprising, if not shocking, to me that many charter school supporters and researchers don’t recognize this obvious characteristic of charter school students (and lottery participants).

Even with this flaw, the results are intriguing. Here is what Mathematica found in comparing the qualities that typically are described as Social Emotional Learning skills:

The KIPP children showed no advantage on any of the measures of character strengths. They weren’t more effortful or persistent. They didn’t have more favorable academic self-conceptions or stronger school engagement. They didn’t score higher than the comparison group in self-control. In fact, they were more likely to engage in “undesirable behavior,” including losing their temper, lying to and arguing with their parents, and giving teachers a hard time. They were more likely to get into trouble at school. Despite the program’s emphasis on character development, the KIPP students were no less likely to smoke, drink, get high, or break the law.

As Sternberg suggests:

developing teenagers’ self-regulation may require something other than parables, slogans, inspirational banners, and encouragement from compassionate teachers.

I would also suggest that KIPP’s system of grading these kinds of character traits have a lot to do with this lack of success, also, as I wrote in a Washington Post column about KIPP’s program awhile back. The piece is titled Why schools should not grade character traits.

Sternberg makes his own suggestions about what he thinks would make for an effective character education program. I don’t think it has to be that complicated, particularly since there is substantial research showing that short-and-simple classroom lessons and a relationship-oriented school culture can help students want to develop these kinds of skills. You can find links to that research and to many of those kinds of lessons at The Best Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Resources.

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September 14, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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This Week’s “Round-Up” Of Useful Ed Policy Posts — Part Two

Usually, I just post one “round-up” of ed policy posts and article each week, but I’ve got a backlog. So here’s Part Two:

How to Diversify Teaching is from The New York Times.

Common Core: yes or no? A debate. appeared in The Washington Post. I’m adding it to The Best Articles Sharing Concerns About Common Core Standards.

Focus on teacher tenure distracts from schools’ real problems appeared in The Sacramento Bee. I’m adding it to The Best Articles For Helping To Understand Both Why Teacher Tenure Is Important & The Reasons Behind Seniority-Based Layoffs.

Half of Those Leaving Teaching Report Better Working Conditions in Other Jobs is from Ed Week. I’m adding it to The Best Posts & Articles About The Importance Of Teacher (& Student) Working Conditions.

The teaching profession gets a makeover is from Marketplace. I’m adding it to the same list.

5 maps that show the best states for teachers is from The Washington Post. I’m adding it to the same list, too.

The Fatal Flaw Of Education Reform is from The Shanker Blog.

Time To Ban Middle School? is from The New York Times.

When researchers lie, here are the words they use is from The Boston Globe. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Understanding How To Interpret Education Research.

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September 13, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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From The Onion: “Tips For Fixing The Nation’s Education System”

tipsonion

Tips For Fixing The Nation’s Education System is another great satirical article from The Onion.

Here are a couple of them:

Discourage teacher turnover by downplaying the importance of having money and respect

Maybe get some underprepared, overconfident recent college graduates in there to figure things out

I’m adding it to The Best Education Articles From “The Onion.”

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September 13, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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This Week’s “Round-Up” Of Useful Posts & Articles On Ed Policy

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

Lily Eskelsen Garcia talks to Al Jazeera is a good interview with the new NEA President.

The Coming Revolution in Public Education appeared in The Atlantic. I’m adding it to The Best Articles Providing An “Overall” Perspective On Education Policy.

Usable Knowledge: Connecting Research To Practice is a new site from The Harvard School of Education that looks promising. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Understanding How To Interpret Education Research.

OKC schools head says repeal 3rd-grade reading law is from The Associated Press. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About Grade Retention, Social Promotion & Alternatives To Both.

Treating Teachers like Professionals is a good infographic. I’m adding it to The Best Posts & Articles About The Importance Of Teacher (& Student) Working Conditions.

High-stakes testing, lack of voice driving teachers out is the title of a report on a new study. Eureka Alert published the report. I’m adding it to the same list.

Incentive Pay Programs Do Not Affect Teacher Motivation or Reported Practices: Results From Three Randomized Studies is from Education Evaluation and Policy Analysis. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning Why Teacher Merit Pay Is A Bad Idea.

Charter-Style Overhauls May Not Improve School Reading Deficiencies is from The Pacific Standard. I’m adding it to The Best Posts & Articles Analyzing Charter Schools.

Education Department Proposes Big Changes to School Improvement Grant Program is from Ed Week. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About The Four School Improvement Grant Models.

TNTP (Once Again) Proves that It’s Anti-Teacher & Anti-Union is a great piece by John Thompson on teacher tenure. I’m adding it to The Best Articles For Helping To Understand Both Why Teacher Tenure Is Important & The Reasons Behind Seniority-Based Layoffs.

The Efficiency Index is by Walt Gardner at Ed Week. I’m adding it to The Best Posts & Articles Explaining Why Schools Should Not Be Run Like Businesses.

Strained ties cloud future of Deasy, LAUSD is from The Los Angeles Times. I’m adding it to A Very Beginning List Of The Best Articles On The iPad Debacle In Los Angeles Schools.

Big Year Looms for Common-Core Testing is from Ed Week. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About The “Next Generation” Of State Testing.

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September 7, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Quote Of The Day: “The Book That Got Teaching Right”

shopping

Samuel G. Freedman has written a great column in The New Yorker about the book Up the Down Staircase whose author, Bel Kaufman, died this past summer. His column is headlined The Book That Got Teaching Right.

Here’s an excerpt:

I-grabbed-a-copy-of-Up

I certainly had heard of the book and movie before, but only as a faint memory. I’ve ordered both now and looking forward to reading and watching!

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September 6, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Teaching History In The News!

Boy, the teaching of history is in the news!

First up, Bill Gates, who thinks we should all learn math through the Khan Academy (see The Best Posts About The Khan Academy) because he likes it, now has a way in mind he wants us all to learn history. Read about it in today’s New York Times story, So Bill Gates Has This Idea for a History Class …

Apparently, Gates was watching this history video about history while running on his treadmill, and now has created a course he wants high schools to teach using this methodology. It’s called The Big History Project and, after a quick perusal, I wouldn’t put it on any of my “Best” lists. However, I am adding the piece to The Best Resources For Learning About The Role Of Private Foundations In Education Policy.

You’ll want to read the article, which provides a fair amount of space to valuable criticisms about education philanthropy, including this one:

“I just finished reading William Easterly’s ‘The Tyranny of Experts,’ ” says Scott L. Thomas, dean of the School of Educational Studies at Claremont Graduate University in California. “It’s about philanthropists and their effect on the poor globally. It’s this exact idea that here you have this ‘expert’ in the middle” — that is, Gates — “enabling the pursuit of this project. And frankly, in the eyes of the critics, he’s really not an expert. He just happens to be a guy that watched a DVD and thought it was a good idea and had a bunch of money to fund it.”

Here are some other interesting comments:

And here’s another excerpt from the article:

there-are-people-that

On the other hand, here are some more useful recent resources on teaching history:

Does It Help to Know History? is from The New Yorker.

American History-American Story is from Chris Lehmann

The New History Wars is from The New York Times.

Don’t Know Much Revisionist History is from Slate.

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September 6, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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This Week’s “Round-Up” Of Useful Posts, Articles & Videos On Ed Policy

Here is this week’s collection of important articles and posts on educational policy issues:

I’ve got to start off with this extraordinary video of Dana Goldstein discussing “As if teachers’ jobs aren’t hard enough, they’re asked to fix poverty, too”:

I’m adding that video to The Best Resources On Why Improving Education Is Not THE Answer To Poverty & Inequality.

Career Advancement in the Classroom is by Walt Gardner at Ed Week. I’m adding it to The Best Posts, Articles & Videos On “Teacher Leadership.”

Will Common Core double the high school dropout rate? is from The Washington Post. In it, Valerie Strauss picks-up and elaborates on my previous post, McKinsey & Company Projects That Common Core Implementation Will Result In 15% Increase In Dropout Rate. I’m adding it to The Best Articles Sharing Concerns About Common Core Standards.

Common Core’s five big half-truths is by Frederick Hess. I’m adding it to the same list.

Supt. Deasy’s early and avid support of iPads under intense scrutiny is one of many recent articles discussing revelations about the iPad scandal at the Los Angeles schools. L.A. Unified exemplifies the forces that stifle public school reform is another LA Times piece about what’s going on there. And here’s another one where Deasy comes across incredibly defensive. As one person remarked to me, “Deasy may survive, but he’ll never recover.” This Ed Week post provides an excellent summary. I’m adding these articles to A Very Beginning List Of The Best Articles On The iPad Debacle In Los Angeles Schools.

Teacher-Led Professional Learning is a new organization primarily funded by the Gates Foundation, though it seems to have some good educators involved. However, I’m still not clear on what it’s doing. I’ll hold off putting them on  The Best Resources On Professional Development For Teachers — Help Me Find More list until I figure that out.

Research And Policy On Paying Teachers For Advanced Degrees is from The Shanker Blog.

Teach for America has faced criticism for years is from Vox and by Dana Goldstein, and is quite interesting. It offers a different perspective. I’m adding it to The Best Posts & Articles Raising Concerns About Teach For America.

Rating teachers not as easy as 1, 2, 3 is from Politico. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About Effective Student & Teacher Assessments.

The Myth Of The Superstar Superintendent? is from NPR.

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September 3, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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The Onion: “Teacher Asks Students To Split Into 2 Groups To Simulate Ideal Class Size”

size

You’ll want to read the funny and sad piece in The Onion that’s titled “Teacher Asks Students To Split Into 2 Groups To Simulate Ideal Class Size.”

I’m adding it to The Best Education Articles From “The Onion.”

You might also be interested in The Best Resources For Learning About How Class Size Does Matter.

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September 3, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Uh Oh, It Looks Like Facebook’s Zuckerberg Now Has His Own Pet Teacher Evaluation Project

Mark Zuckerberg, fresh from his disastrous $100 million investment in Newark schools (The Best Posts & Articles For Learning About Newark’s $100 Million From Facebook) has decided he wants his own piece of the teacher evaluation business.

He’s just become a major (I assume, THE major) investor in an education start-up called Panorama that is promoting the use of student evaluations to evaluate teachers.

The New York Times has just published an article about them — Grading Teachers, With Data From Class.

As regular readers know, it’s unlikely to find another teacher more committed to student evaluations of teachers than me. I regularly have students do them and share online and with administrators and colleagues their results — warts and all. You can see them all at The Best Posts On Students Evaluating Classes (And Teachers).

In fact, The Washington Post reprinted one of the reports that shared even more warts than usual a year or two ago.

Regular readers also know that it would also be difficult to find another teacher who has stronger negative feelings than me about the idea of using student surveys as an element in a teacher evaluation.

My reasons are numerous, and you can read them in my previous posts on the topic, which you can also find on the previously mentioned “Best” list.

Ordinarily, I’d write a summary of my objections. However, today was the second day of the new school year, and I’m exhausted. It looks like it will be another great set of classes and students, but, as all teachers know, the first week of school is a killer until we get our “teacher legs” back :)

I’ll put a more extensive post on my “to do” list, but thought that — in light of today’s Times’ article — I wanted to get something out quickly….

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September 2, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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New “Edu-Messaging” Firm Needs To Work On Their “Messaging” Skills

Education Post is a new “edu-messaging” organization that is backed by the “Broad Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Walton Family Foundation and an anonymous donor” and led by the former spokesperson for U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan.

The Washington Post says it has:

the aim of encouraging a more “respectful” and fact-based national discussion about the challenges of public education, and possible solutions.

Then, later, in the article, the more patronizing and accurate purpose behind the organization becomes clear:

“Administrators, school leaders and teachers have papers to grade, schools to run, and they don’t have time to get out and talk about this,” he said. “This is an effort to help spread information about what works both inside the field and outside.”

Education Post also will have a “rapid response” capacity to “knock down false narratives” and will focus on “hot spots” around the country where conflicts with national implications are playing out, Cunningham said.

I suspect that they’ve begun because of the initial success by the PR firm hired by the organization backing the teaching-bashing Vergara lawsuit here in California, which is thankfully now being beaten back in the media by teachers and our allies and ultimately in the courts by the State of California.

I’m sure we’ll soon see their brand of “facts” will be no different than those of their backers, who are no friends of teachers, students, or their families.

Anyway, we should all be wary of people who raise the red herring of supposed “overheated rhetoric” in any kind of public debate, which I’ve written about in a few places previously:

It’s Not About Who’s “Evil” — It’s About Who’s Willing To Make A Deal, which was partially reprinted in The Washington Post.

Why we can’t all get along over school reform was published in The Washington Post.

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August 30, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Gov. Jerry Brown Appeals Awful Vergara Court Ruling

California Governor Jerry Brown, with the encouragement of state Supt. of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, has announced the State of California will appeal the awful Vergara court ruling, which blames teachers for all of education and society’s ills.

You can read about the decision to appeal in these two articles:

Gov. Brown appeals ruling that struck down teacher job protections is from the LA Times.

California appeals teacher tenure ruling is from The Associated Press.

Here’s an excerpt from Tom Torlakson’s statement on the suit:

We-do-not-fault-doctors

I’m adding this info to The Best Resources On California Court Case Attacking Teacher’s Rights.

You might also be interested in Calif. teacher tenure case spices up superintendent race from The Washington Post.

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August 30, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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“Imagining Successful Schools”

I’ve previously shared a number of posts that Marc Tucker has written about teacher evaluation.

Today, New York Times columnist Joe Nocera has written a column about Tucker’s ideas and a new report his organization has published. The column is headlined “Imagining Successful Schools.”

Here’s an excerpt:

Ever-since-the-passage

Here’s a link to Tucker’s report:

I’m adding this info to The Best Resources For Learning About Effective Student & Teacher Assessments.

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