Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

April 23, 2017
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, Videos & Posts On Education Policy In 2016 – Part Two):

Beyond test scores, here are new ways states are tracking school success is from The PBS News Hour. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Understanding The Every Student Succeeds Act.

Long rated by test scores, schools may soon be judged on student absenteeism too is from The Washington Post. I’m adding it to the same list.

Here are 2016 Finalists for the National Awards for Education Reporting. Alexander Russo says some worthy pieces are missing.

Ohio Town’s Schools Hope to Be ‘More Than a Line Item’ in the Federal Budget is a New York Times article about this week’s visit to a school in Ohio by Randi Weingarten and Betsy DeVos.

How School Choice Turns Education Into a Commodity is from The Atlantic. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning Why School Vouchers Are A Bad Idea (& Other Commentaries On “Choice”).

Speaking of choice, this week The Supreme Court heard a case that could have a big impact on the issue: Supreme Court Weighs State Aid to Church Programs

Charter schools are expanding where they aren’t needed — especially in Los Angeles, new report says is from The L.A. Times. I’m adding it to The Best Posts & Articles Analyzing Charter Schools.

California bill that critics say could cripple charter schools back in the spotlight is from Ed Source. It’s a bill that would stop county Boards of Education from approving charters that have been denied by local districts, and I sure hope it passes. I’m adding it to the same list.

Preschool is good for children, but it’s expensive. So Utah is offering it online. is from The Washington Post.

The Invented History of ‘The Factory Model of Education’ is an older post, but new to me. It’s by Audrey Watters.

April 14, 2017
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, Videos & Posts On Education Policy In 2016 – Part Two):

Chicago Mayor’s Plan To Update H.S. Graduation Has A Fatal Flaw is from NPR. Here’s a similar piece from Vox.

Redefining accountability to treat teachers and leaders like the professionals they are is from Brookings. I don’t agree with everything it says, but it contains a wealth of information. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About Effective Student & Teacher Assessments.

California’s high school graduation rate improves for 7th straight year, but ethnic gaps remain is from Ed Source.

Developing and Measuring Higher Order Skills: Models for State Performance Assessment Systems is from Linda Darling Hammond. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Understanding The Every Student Succeeds Act.

High schools turning to student portfolios to assess academic progress is from Ed Source. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About Performance Assessment.

Today’s Teaching Force Is Larger, Less Experienced, More Diverse Than Ever is from Ed Week.

Ask Better School Reform Questions is a useful piece at U.S. News.

Special Ed School Vouchers May Come With Hidden Costs is from The New York Times. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning Why School Vouchers Are A Bad Idea (& Other Commentaries On “Choice”).

DeVos praises this voucher-like program. Here’s what it means for school reform. is from The Washington Post. I’m adding it to the same list.

Trump’s Wrong about the Schools is from The Huffington Post.

April 8, 2017
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, Videos & Posts On Education Policy In 2016 – Part Two):

Arizona Frees Money for Private Schools, Buoyed by Trump’s Voucher Push is by Dana Goldstein. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning Why School Vouchers Are A Bad Idea (& Other Commentaries On “Choice”).

The Political Parallels and Contradictions of the School Choice, Food Choice — Er, Food Stamps — Debate is by Matt Barnum. I’m adding it to the same list.

A Glossary for the Current Education Debate is from Edutopia. I’m adding it to The Best Glossaries Of Education Terminology.

Teachers, Lawyers And Others Worry About The Fate Of Student Debt Forgiveness is from NPR. I shared other articles on this issue last week.

Six Ways to Improve High School Graduation Rates is from Education Week.

New Mexico Outlaws School ‘Lunch Shaming’ is from The New York Times.

The Wrong Move on Student Loans is also from The New York Times.

Tony Thurmond enters schools chief race pledging to fight Trump on education funding is from The Sacramento Bee.

2 Education Dept. Picks Raise Fears on Civil Rights Enforcement is from The New York Times.

April 3, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

House Democrats Ask Trump Administration To Safeguard Educational Rights Of Undocumented

Though I’m not holding my breath that the Trump Administration will respond, several Congresspeople sent a letter today requesting that it reinforce the message to our nation’s schools that undocumented students must also be educated.

You can read more about it at The Washington Post article, House Democrats ask Trump administration to remind schools that they must educate undocumented children.

Ed Week also ran a piece on the letter, Top Democrats Tell DeVos: Immigrant Student Rights Must Be Protected.

You might be interested in The Best Practical Resources For Helping Teachers, Students & Families Respond To Immigration Challenges.

April 3, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

The Best Resources On Social Capital In Schools

During my nineteen-year community organizing career (prior to becoming a teacher fourteen years ago), we spoke often about the importance of social capital in communities and local institutions. In other words, social capital is the value of the relationships and networks.

Here’s how I described it in my first book, Building Parent Engagement In Schools:

WHAT IS SOCIAL CAPITAL AND WHAT DOES IT HAVE TO DO WITH SCHOOLS?

The word “capital” has many meanings. Physical capital refers to the tools and equipment necessary for industrial production. Economic capital is money. Human capital is the training and education that people receive so they can become economically productive. The term social capital became popularized by Robert Putnam’s book Bowling Alone. He defined it as the value generated by the “connections among individuals – social networks and the norms of reciprocity and trustworthiness that arise from them.” (Putnam 19). 

Putman identified the importance of developing social capital for all aspects of a healthy society in the 1990’s. However, both the originator of the concept and a key researcher on it prior to Putman directly connected school’s promoting social capital with student academic achievement.

L.J. Hanifan, a state supervisor of rural public schools in West Virginia, first coined the phrase social capital in 1916 as he promoted a strategy eerily similar to the parent engagement criteria discussed in this chapter. He cited numerous improvements as a result, including increased student attendance.  After writing about the parent engagement work of one school district, he concludes:

“I am firmly convinced that the supervisor and teachers, whose achievements I have described, have struck bed-rock in community building. It is not what they did for the people that counts for most in what was achieved; it was what they led the people to do for themselves that was really important. Tell the people what they ought to do, and they will say in effect, ‘Mind your own business.’ But help them to discover for themselves what ought to be done and they will not be satisfied until it is done. First the people must get together. Social capital must be accumulated. Then community improvements may begin. The more the people do for themselves the larger will community social capital become, and the greater will be the dividends upon the social investment.”  (Hanifan 138)

Sociologist James Coleman in the 1980’s connected higher high school graduation rates to the social capital generated between school staff, students, and parents (Coleman 1988). A more recent study by Leana and Pil, published in 2006, called “Social Capital and Organizational Performance: Evidence From Urban Public Schools, examined 88 public schools.  It found a “causal” relationship between what it called “external social capital” (relationships between the school and parents and others) and student reading achievement. (Leana and Pil 2006).

You may be wondering what is prompting me to write a “Best” list sharing an excerpt from a nine-year-old book.

Well, today, a new study was released suggesting – again – that schools with higher social capital were more academically successful ones.

You can read about it in a summary study of the study at Science Daily.  Here’s an excerpt:

In a study of 96 public high schools in Ohio, researchers found that schools with higher levels of social capital also had students who performed better on state-mandated math and reading tests. The results held true as much for urban schools in high-poverty areas as they did for wealthy suburban schools.

The study seems a little strange to me since they based it only on feedback from teachers.  You’d think that if they were going to evaluate social capital, they’d also check-in with other key stakeholders like students and their families, wouldn’t you?

Nevertheless, I thought it would be timely to bring together other articles I’ve shared over the years on social capital and schools (You might also be interested in The Best Posts About Trust & Education):

A New Focus On Social Capital In School Reform Efforts is from The Shanker Blog.

Social Capital Matters As Much As Human Capital – A Message To Skeptics is from The Shanker Blog.

School Choice & Social Capital is by Justin Baeder.

The Missing Link In School Reform shares important research about the role of trust and the development of social capital in schools.

The Value Of Sharing Positive Events

Building Social Capital In The Classroom Helps With Test-Taking

April 2, 2017
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, Videos & Posts On Education Policy In 2016 – Part Two):

California schools once again forced to tighten belts, weigh cuts is from The San Francisco Chronicle.

The Myth of “Failed” School Reform, Part 3 is by Larry Cuban.

Who Needs Charters When You Have Public Schools Like These? is from The New York Times.

Student Loan Forgiveness Program Approval Letters May Be Invalid, Education Dept. Says is from The New York Times. It’s a very concerning article, though it appears – according to this follow-up tweet from a NY Times journalist – it’s not affecting teachers. Instead, it’s impacting those who work at nonprofit organizations.

March 29, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

Bad Analogy Of The Day: No, Secretary DeVos, Public Schools Are Not Taxis & School Choice Is Not Uber

Though I have nothing against cab drivers, I don’t think comparing public schools to taxis and school choice to Uber is a particularly effective argument that I’d be making – now or ever….

Read more at Betsy DeVos Calls for More School Choice, Saying Money Isn’t the Answer.

I’m adding this info to The Best Resources For Learning About Our New U.S. Secretary of Education.

You might also be interested in The Best Sites For Learning That Money Does Matter For Schools.

March 28, 2017
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, Videos & Posts On Education Policy In 2016 – Part Two):

California school districts increased spending on administrator pay faster than teacher pay is a lengthy article just published by The Sacramento Bee. For what it’s worth, it includes this contribution from me:

Administrators come in different flavors, ranging from a middle school vice principal to the superintendent of a large district. The state further breaks down spending on administrative pay by whether it is primarily used for school administration – running a particular school – and everything else, largely central office administration. Teachers most often criticize central office staff, not school site staff, when bemoaning increased spending on administration.

“I want our school to have multiple vice principals,” said Larry Ferlazzo, an English teacher at Luther Burbank High in Sacramento who also blogs for national publication Education Week Teacher. “I would have many more concerns about central office than on the ground level.”

School Choice Fight in Iowa May Preview the One Facing Trump is from The New York Times. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning Why School Vouchers Are A Bad Idea (& Other Commentaries On “Choice”).

Key Democratic senator outlines a case against school vouchers is from The Washington Post. I’m adding it to the same list.

School Closures: What Do They Mean for Students and Communities? is from Education Week. I’m adding it to The Best Posts & Articles On The Impact Of School Closures — Suggest More!

Concerns After Texas School Opens ‘Prayer Room’ That’s Attracting Muslim Students is from NPR.

A Continuum on Personalized Learning: First Draft is by Larry Cuban. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Understanding “Personalized Learning”

Exclusive: Pisa data may be incomparable, Schleicher admits is from TES. I’m adding it to The Best Sites For Getting Some Perspective On International Test Comparison Demagoguery.

The Supreme Court Rules In Favor Of A Special Education Student is from NPR. Supreme Court sets higher bar for education of students with disabilities is from The Washington Post and covers the same case.

Skip to toolbar