Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

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August 1, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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McKinsey & Company Projects That Common Core Implementation Will Result In Doubling of Dropout Rate

Thanks to Lori Jablonski and Tom Hoffman (I’ve embedded Lori’s tweets below), I learned about a report from the Carnegie Corporation that includes charts created by big-time consultants McKinsey & Company.

First, the chart:

common core

So, based on my quick reading of the Carnegie report, titled Opportunity by Design: New High School Models for Student Success, unless we create small schools and do blended learning, the drop-out rate will double over the next few years.

I’m no fan of the Common Core, though I have also recognized its inevitability in most states, including here in California (see A Collection Of My “Best” Lists On The Common Core).

But I am surprised that this chart has not received wider circulation to inform the debate.

Here are Lori’s tweets:

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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.

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July 28, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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The Best Articles Highlighting Parallel Critiques Of Increasing School & Health Care “Efficiency”

There have been a number of articles and posts over the years highlighting efforts in education and in health care to institute similarly misguided changes in both areas.

Here are ones that I’ve seen, and feel free to suggest more:

Medicare Penalizes Nearly 1,500 Hospitals For Poor Quality Scores is from NPR, and shows that some hospitals get penalized unfairly for the same reasons inner-city schools receive criticism.

Why Evaluate Teachers and Doctors Differently? is by Walt Gardner at Education Week.

Should “Efficiency” Really Be The Driving Force In Hospitals (And Schools)?

Here’s an interesting NY Times article about performance pay for doctors, and here’s Paul Thomas’ commentary on it.

Walt Gardner wrote another post — Preparing Doctors and Teachers.

Coaching is Good for Doctors and Teachers Both is by John Thompson.

Bad Medicine is by EduShyster, and discusses the impact of similar elements of “school reform” into the medical profession.

NY Times Column Skewers Performance Pay

Quote Of The Day: Doctors & Teachers

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July 28, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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NY Times Column Skewers Performance Pay

Many school reformers view teacher merit pay as one of the “be all, end all” solutions to the challenges facing schools, even though it’s been found to never work (see The Best Resources For Learning Why Teacher Merit Pay Is A Bad Idea).

Today, The New York Times published a column that highlights all of what is wrong about merit pay. However, they talk about it in the context of doctors and the medical profession and not teachers.

Here’s an excerpt from The Problem With ‘Pay for Performance’ in Medicine and it’s all very applicable to teachers, as well:

Pay-for-performance-is

I’m adding it to a collection of resources I’ve been accumulating about the parallels between school and medical reformers.

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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:

other-measures-of

Interesting…

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

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July 25, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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“Race To The Top Was A ‘Wasted Opportunity’”

Race To The Top Was A ‘Wasted Opportunity’ is my latest Education Week Teacher post, and comes on the fifth anniversary of the unveiling of that program.

Today, educators John Kuhn and Gary Rubinstein provide response to this question. On Monday, I’ll be publishing guest responses from several more educators, as well as comments from readers.

Here are some excerpts:

Years-from-now-I-hope-we

Race-to-the-Top

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

July 22, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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12 MORE New Yorker Articles On Ed To Read While The Archives Are Free

Yesterday, I posted “12 New Yorker education articles to read while the archives are free,” a link to a a great collection of links that Vox identified.

Now, today, Alexander Russo published links to his own choices at 12 New Yorker Ed Articles Vox Missed/Got Wrong.

All twenty-four are worth reading this summer….

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July 22, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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“Has Race To The Top Been A Success, A Fiasco, Or Something In Between?”

Has Race To The Top Been A Success, A Fiasco, Or Something In Between? is a special question of the week at my Education Week Teacher blog.

This week is the fifth anniversary of the Obama Administration announcing the program.

Feel free to leave comments here or there…

Has-Race-To-The-Top-been

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July 21, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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“12 New Yorker education articles to read while the archives are free”

Last week, I wrote a post about The New Yorker preparing to make all its archives available free for a few months (see “The New Yorker” Makes All Articles Available For Free Until November).

That time has arrived this week!

And Vox has just published a nice guide titled 12 New Yorker education articles to read while the archives are free.

Their guide includes the recent excellent article on the Atlanta cheating scandal (see The New Yorker’s “Wrong Answer” Feature Is The Must-Read Education Article Of The Summer).

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July 21, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Quote Of The Day: “Do Students Learn More When Their Teachers Work Together?”

Do Students Learn More When Their Teachers Work Together? is an excellent post by Esther Quintero at The Shanker Blog.

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

Here’s an excerpt:

The-big-message-is-that

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July 19, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Is Summer Learning The Silver Bullet For Narrowing The Achievement Gap?

This summer, I’ve been in the process of writing my seventh book — the third volume in my series on student motivation (I’m over halfway there — Yay!).

As part of that writing, I’ve been going over a number of articles I’ve saved over the past year, and, tonight, I began reviewing resources on The Best Resources On The “Summer Slide” list.

As I reviewed them, I was reminded of an extremely important fact that I must have forgotten, and is best expressed in a piece published by Education Week a couple of months ago:

The-research-shows-us

These findings are backed-up by extensive research, much of which you can find on my “Best” list, and it reinforces why I set-up online virtual summer school classrooms for my students.

We used to have over a thousand students attending summer school classes — not because they had to be there, but because they wanted to come. But those days are long-gone, and this year we had four classes, primarily for students who had failed a class and needed to make it up.

So, if all the research says most of the achievement gap is due to summer learning loss, it boggles my mind even more that we are spending huge amounts of resources on countless school reform boondoggles like Race To The Top, Value Added Measurements (VAM), the “next generation” of standardized testing, etc…

The research shows that summer learning programs are very inexpensive since they can be effective at stemming learning loss by even lasting for only six weeks. Shouldn’t those wasted monies be spent there?

Oh, I forgot — the U.S. Department of Education prefers spending money on programs that have no research backing up their effectiveness….

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July 17, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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This Week’s “Round-Up” Of Useful Posts & Articles On Education Policy

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

Did Obama and Duncan really hear what four teachers told them? is the third in a series of posts at Valerie Strauss’ Washington Post blog about a recent meeting at the White House attended by four teachers and President Obama and Secretary Duncan. This post also contains links to the previous two.

Exit Exams Need Overhaul, Report Says is from Education Week. I’m adding it to The Best Posts & Articles About Why High School Exit Exams Might Not Be A Good Idea.

Jeb Bush’s reading rule loses ground is from Politico. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About Grade Retention, Social Promotion & Alternatives To Both.

A Mantra for K-12 Philanthropy: First, Do No Harm is by Rick Hess and appeared in Education Week. It’s a little odd, and a bit internally inconsistent, but I’m still adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About The Role Of Private Foundations In Education Policy.

Koch Heads: How The Koch Brothers Are Buying Their Way Into The Minds Of Public School Students is from The Huffington Post. I’m adding it to the same list.

On Teacher Evaluation is an interesting piece by Robert Slavin. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About Effective Student & Teacher Assessments.

Here’s Why We Don’t Need Standardized Tests is from Ed Week. I’m adding it to The Best Articles Describing Alternatives To High-Stakes Testing.

AFT: Obama Must Force Arne Duncan to ‘Improve’ or to Resign is from Ed Week.

Tougher High School Exit Criteria May Not Boost College Prospects, Study Says is from Education Week.

The Language Of Teacher Effectiveness is from The Shanker Blog.

I’m adding these next two links to The Best Sites For Getting Some Perspective On International Test Comparison Demagoguery:

Compelling Evidence is from Stephen Krashen.

Why it’s hard for the US to learn from other countries on education is from Vox.

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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:

David-Berliner-the

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”

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July 14, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Great Video & Tweets: Donna Brazile At The AFT Convention

Donna Brazile announced the formation of Democrats For Public Education at the American Federation of Teachers Convention in Los Angeles. It’s designed to support effective and teacher-supported education efforts.

You’ve got to watch this of her speech at the Convention. I’ve also embedded a few tweets that contain excerpts…

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July 13, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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The Best Resources For Understanding “Personalized Learning”

When the last Race To The Top applications came out, its focus on the idea of “personalized learning” prompted me to create a The Best Resources On “Race To The Top” (& On “Personalized Learning”) list.

Now, though, I think it’s time to make the topic a “Best” list of its own…

I’ve got a number of concerns, and a fair amount of skepticism, about what’s passing as “personalized learning” these days, and this collection reflects it. Feel free to make your own suggestions in the comments:

“Personalized Learning,” Race To The Top & Putting Even More Lipstick On A Pig

Another Good Take On “Personalized Learning”

Personalization is by Chris Lehmann.

Dan Meyer On Personalization is by…Dan Meyer.

‘Personalized Learning’ Varies for Race to Top Districts is from Education Week.

Quote Of The Day: Personalized Learning

The Soaring Promise Of Big Data In Math Education is by Dan Meyer.

Gates and Murdoch “Personalize” Learning with Larger Classes and Big Data Systems is by Anthony Cody at Education Week.

Rebirth of the Teaching Machine through the Seduction of Data Analytics: This Time It’s Personal is by Philip McRae.

This Time It’s Personal and Dangerous is by Barbara Bray.

 

The History of “Personalization” and Teaching Machines is by Audrey Watters.

Betting Big on Personalized Learning is from Education Week

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