Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

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May 3, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo
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David Brooks Does His Best – Again – To Give Social Emotional Learning Skills A Bad Name

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My wonderful, and now deceased, first wife used to tell me – endearingly – “How can somebody so smart in so many ways be so dumb in others?”

It’s my turn to ask that same question – minus the endearing tone – to David Brooks, who seems to lose any sense of rationality whenever he writes about education-related issues, as I’ve regularly pointed in this blog.

He seems to have a particular affinity for giving Social Emotional Learning a bad name (see With Friends Like David Brooks, Social Emotional Learning Doesn’t Need Any Enemies and David Brooks Gets It Wrong Again).  In fact, it was one of his columns that inspired me to to call him and others advocates of the “Let Them Eat Character” philosophy in my Washington Post piece, The Manipulation of Social Emotional Learning.

He’s at it again in today’s column, titled The Choice Explosion.

After first making some excellent points about how people can improve their decision-making abilities, he suggests that a class on it should be included in schools. Of course, anyone teaching good Social Emotional Learning skills is already doing that, but I don’t have any problem with him making the suggestion.

Then, however, he says it’s especially important for “less fortunate” students because “the choice explosion has contributed to widening inequality.” On top of that, he justifies it by (mis)using important research (see The Best Articles About The Study Showing Social Emotional Learning Isn’t Enough) on the limiting effect poverty has been shown on “cognitive bandwidth,” while the researchers emphasized their public conclusions on the importance of anti-poverty programs.

Teaching social emotional learning skills must be paired with helping our students see the institutional obstacles they face to success and strategies – individual and collective – they can use to overcome them.

The next time David Brooks wants to write a column in The New York Times about effective strategies to reduce inequality, he might want to start off with reading The Best Resources About Wealth & Income Inequality and The Best Resources On Why Improving Education Is Not THE Answer To Poverty & Inequality.

May 3, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Quote Of The Day: The Value Of Teacher Collaboration

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.

Here’s an excerpt:

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I’m adding it to The Best Posts & Articles About The Importance Of Teacher (& Student) Working Conditions.

May 1, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo
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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):

FIVE SIMPLE STEPS TO READING POLICY RESEARCH is from The Great Lakes Center. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Understanding How To Interpret Education Research.

The Formative Evaluation of Teaching Performance is by Dylan Wiliam. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About Effective Student & Teacher Assessments.

New U.S. rules for standardized testing have been drafted. Here’s what they mean for kids. is from The Washington Post. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About The “Next Generation” Of State Testing.

Report: ‘College prep for all’ mandate may block some students from graduating is from Ed Source.

Want Your Kids to Get a Good Education? Support Their Teachers’ Workplace Rights is from The Nation.

Karen Lewis may play with fire, but she didn’t start it is from The Chicago Sung Times.

The Payne of Confronting Stereotypes about Poverty as Educators is by Paul Thomas. I’m adding it to The Best Critiques Of Ruby Payne.

Results from the latest National Assessment of Educational Progress tests were released this week. Here are some useful reactions on them:

Proficiency and NAEP scores: Let’s stop talking about trivial distinctions and focus on ending inequality instead is from The Hechinger Report.

Reactions to 12th Grade NAEP Declines? Mostly Tempered is from Ed Week.

These tweets point out that scores might be lower or flat, but that also more students took the test. In other words, it’s not an “apples to apples” comparison to previous years.

April 30, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Great News For California Students – Undocumented Children Become Eligible For Free Medical Insurance In May

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The research showing that teachers can only affect thirty percent of factors impacting student academic achievement is well-known (see The Best Places To Learn What Impact A Teacher & Outside Factors Have On Student Achievement). Health issues – both physical and mental – are included in those outside factors (see “Kids who get health insurance are more likely to finish high school and college”).

Though, as far as I know, there hasn’t yet been research connecting Obamacare to higher academic achievement, I suspect that those results will be found (let me know if you are aware of any related research). I assume it’s still too soon.

One group left out of Obamacare were the undocumented.

That omission is beginning to change here in California.

Beginning on May 16th, undocumented children under the age of 18th will be eligible for Medi-Cal, the state-run health insurance program for low-income residents. It covers both physical and mental health issues, which will be a huge help for many of our students who have experience trauma, particularly unaccompanied minors from Central America.

Of course, it will still be a challenge to find an adequate number of providers who accept Medi-Cal, but it’s a great start.

You can find more information about the expansion at:

Medi-Cal will soon cover children in the U.S. illegally. The real battle? Getting adults insured is from The L.A. Times.

New Law Will Expand Medi-Cal to 170K Undocumented Children

California’s Health for All Kids Medi-Cal Expansion (English and Spanish resources)

You might also be interested in The Best Interactives Showing How Obamacare Works.

April 29, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo
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NY Times Publishes Impressive Interactive On School Funding

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Hot on the heels of NPR publishing an impressive interactive on school funding across the United States, The New York Times has 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.

The data used in the interactive is based on a study released today by Stanford professor Sean Reardon. You can read more details about his study at:

Achievement Gaps and Racial Segregation: Research Finds an Insidious Cycle from Education Week.

America needs political will to fix unjust educational system, Stanford experts say is from Stanford.

How Can Researchers Compare District Achievement Gaps Across States? is from Ed Week.

And here’s an Ed Week video of Professor Reardon discussing the study:

I’m adding this post to The Best Sites For Learning That Money Does Matter For Schools.

April 28, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Thoughtful Analysis On Teacher “Cheating”

It’s been a year since educators were sentenced in the Atlanta cheating scandal (see The Best Posts & Articles About The Atlanta Testing Scandal) and articles about it, and its impact on students, are beginning to appear.

Education Week has a pretty alarming piece on it, headlined Study: When Educators Cheat, Students Suffer.

I, though, was particularly impressed with a nuanced piece in The Atlantic titled Why Would a Teacher Cheat? Without excusing the Atlanta teachers, writer Alia Wong examines the broader question of teacher “leniency” in grading. Here’s an excerpt:

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I’ve don’t believe I’ve ever done anything that would be labeled “cheating” by anybody. However, all of us have a great deal of discretion in student assessment.

The guiding principle for me is always, “What do I think will move this student forward?” That doesn’t mean moving him/her into situations where I don’t think they will be adequately prepared. However, might I have on occasion passed students who some others might have felt had  not”earned” a passing grade because I didn’t feel failing them would be in their best interest? Perhaps (see The Best Resources For Learning About Grade Retention, Social Promotion & Alternatives To Both).

We teachers can hold enormous power to affect the trajectory of our students’ lives.  That amount of power requires some discretion in how we use it.

 

April 23, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo
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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):

Value-Added Models (VAMs): Caveat Emptor is a new report from The American Statistical Association. Thanks to Paul Bruno for sharing it on Twitter. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About The “Value-Added” Approach Towards Teacher Evaluation.

‘Don’t Wait For An Act Of Congress’: Union Chief On Politics And Testing is from NPR.

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.

Outspoken CPS principal known as Emanuel critic ousted from Lakeview school is from The Chicago Tribune.

Chalkbeat, the online education publication with branches in multiple states, has revised their design. You can now access all their editions in one place.

Teach for America applications fall again, diving 35 percent in three years is from The Washington Post. I’m adding it to The Best Posts & Articles Raising Concerns About Teach For America.

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