Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

April 19, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

Special Edition Of This Week’s “Round-Up” Of Useful Posts On Education Policy

'Fair Contract Now' photo (c) 2012, Brad Perkins - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Usually, I only publish a once-weekly “round-up” of good posts and articles on education policy issues. However, I’m a bit behind, so I’m catching-up with this “special edition”:

Kill tenure, cure schools? was published in the Los Angeles Times. I’m adding it to The Best Resources On California Court Case Attacking Teacher’s Rights.

Competing Views of Teacher Tenure Are on Display in California Case is from The New York Times. I’m adding it to the same list.

Teachers asked to ‘inspect’ Ofsted is from TES Connect.

More Research Needed on Proper Use of Common-Core Tests, Report Says is from Education Week. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About The “Next Generation” Of State Testing.

Kamenetz & Gallup Nail the Key to School Improvement by John Thompson is a good commentary on a recent Gallup Poll and on a Hechinger Report post analyzing the poll. I’m adding both to The Best Posts & Articles About The Importance Of Teacher (& Student) Working Conditions.

Pay-for-Performance for CEOs and Teachers is by Larry Cuban. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning Why Teacher Merit Pay Is A Bad Idea.

Fresno teachers union opposes extension of No Child Left Behind waiver is from The Fresno Bee. I’m adding it to The Best Posts & Articles On The NCLB Waiver Given To Eight California School Districts (Including Ours).

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April 16, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

Who’s To Blame For The SAT’s Existence? Thanks A Lot, Tom Edison…

'Thomas Edison, 1930s' photo (c) 2011, Playing Futures:  Applied Nomadology - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

The SAT Test has been in the news a lot, lately.

The College Board is revamping it, and they just released new sample questions.

In addition to those links, here are a few other useful articles:

The New SAT: Less Vocabulary, More Linear Equations is from NPR.

What is the SAT good for? is from The Washington Post.

The key problem the SAT changes won’t fix is also from The Washington Post.

College President: SAT Is Part Hoax, Part Fraud is from TIME.

But the main reason for this post is to reprint one I published a six years ago.

Here it is:

Thanks, Thomas Edison, For The Light Bulb, Phonograph and…the SAT?

Did you know that a test created by Thomas Edison inspired the creation of the not particularly useful SAT?

I didn’t, until I saw a short piece in the Mind Hack blog today. That post led to a much more descriptive article that appeared in the New Scientist magazine titled 163 ways to lose your job.

Edison apparently developed his ‘Brainmeter” test to evaluated the intelligence of job-seekers at his lab, and the test’s administrator went on to help create the SAT.

Both the blog post and article were pretty intriguing, but neither provided a link to the actual test. I found it at the National Park Service Edison National Historic site website, and you can take the test there (scroll down a bit).

How can this information be useful in today’s classroom, you might ask? Well, I have to admit the primary reason I’m writing this post is because I just found it interesting. However, even though the test isn’t accessible to English Language Learners, it might be fascinating to see what students might come-up with if they were asked to develop questions that they think would be effective in evaluating a person’s intelligence, and what criteria that might use to write them.

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April 16, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

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

''Wisconsin is Open For Business Closed for Schools'' photo (c) 2011, rochelle hartman - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Here are some relatively recent articles and blog posts on educational policy issues that are worth reading:

All schools should have good teachers is from The Los Angeles Times. I’m adding it to The Best Articles For Helping To Understand Both Why Teacher Tenure Is Important & The Reasons Behind Seniority-Based Layoffs.

How Seniority Reform Backfired In Minneapolis is by John Thompson. I’m adding it to the same list.

Evidence Based Education Policy and Practice: A Conversation is from Larry Cuban’s blog.

Evaluation: A Revolt Against The “Randomistas”? is by Alexander Russo. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Understanding How To Interpret Education Research.

What Is A Standard Deviation? is from The Shanker Blog. I’m adding it to the same list.

A Brilliant Management Insight Helps Chipotle Retain Its Best Employees is an interesting article from Business Insider that I think has applications for the development of teacher leadership. I’m adding it to The Best Posts, Articles & Videos On “Teacher Leadership.”

Big data: are we making a big mistake? is from The Financial Times. I’m adding it to The Best Resources Showing Why We Need To Be “Data-Informed” & Not “Data-Driven.”

Ainge: Analytics Sometimes Leads To Shortcuts is from RealGM Basketball. I’m adding it to the same list.

New Common Core exams will test whether a robo-grader is as accurate as a human is from The Hechinger Report. I’m adding it to The Best Posts On Computer-Graded Essays.

The Classroom of the Future: Student-Centered or Device-Centered? is by Anthony Cody at Education Week Teacher.

A Teacher Offers Sound Advice to Tom Friedman is from Diane Ravitch’s blog.

Teaching as a Second Act, or Maybe Even a Third is from The New York Times.

One of many nails in the VAM coffin…. is from Better Living Through Mathematics. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About The “Value-Added” Approach Towards Teacher Evaluation. Thanks to Alice Mercer for the tip.

Here is a VAM mathematical formula from Florida. I’m adding it to the same list.

I’m adding this tweet to The Best Resources On “Race To The Top” (& On “Personalized Learning”):

How Does PISA Put the World at Risk (Part 5): Racing to the Past is by Yong Zhao. I’m adding it to The Best Posts & Articles On 2012 PISA Test Results.

The Great Lakes Center has done an important review of infamous Raj Chetty, John Friedman, & Jonah Rockoff study on teacher’s value-added. I’m adding it to the list where many critiques of that study can be found, The Best Posts On The NY Times-Featured Teacher Effectiveness Study.

Classes of Donkeys is by David Truss, and offers some thoughtful commentary on the popular Class Dojo behavior management tech tool. I’m adding it to The Best Posts & Articles On “Motivating” Students.

On Using And Not Using ClassDojo*: Ideological Differences? is by Larry Cuban. Motivating is from ELT Reflections, and is also on Class Dojo. I’m adding both to the same “Best” list.

I’ll end this post with this tweet:

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April 14, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

Yay! The Education Writers Association Now Lists Their Award Winners In A Way That’s Accessible!

'trophy 1 | the both and | shorts and longs | julie rybarczyk' photo (c) 2010, Julie Rybarczyk - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

I’ve previously posted about the 2013 Education Writers Association National Awards For Education Reporting.

There were many of them, including many “must-reads.” However, their design made it very difficult to access links to them all — many clicks were required to find them.

Happily, I saw on Twitter today that they have now listed them in an easily scrollable, downloadable and clickable PDF.

Enjoy!

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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.

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April 9, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

Big News! Sacramento Withdraws From NCLB Waiver Granted CORE Districts

nikki

Photo: Sacramento City Teachers Association President Nikki Milevsky and School Board President Patrick Kennedy announce the District’s decision to withdraw from CORE

I’ve written a lot about the awful decision made by the U.S. Department of Education to grant eight California school districts (known as CORE) a waiver from No Child Left Behind (see The Best Posts & Articles On The NCLB Waiver Given To Eight California School Districts (Including Ours))

Today, common sense has prevailed here in Sacramento and our union and District made a joint announcement that the district would not be reapplying for the annual waiver.

Here’s the official statement of Sacramento Teachers Association (SCTA) President Nikki Milevsky

SCTA, along with many community groups, has been consistently opposed to the NCLB waiver as submitted by our former Superintendent and the California Office to Reform Education with no true input from stakeholders. While the waiver did bring some flexibility in how the district could spend supplemental education service funds, the cost of the waiver and some of the requirements established within the application were detrimental to our schools and the students they serve. The way the application process was handled by those involved was unacceptable to our members and the community, which is one of the reasons why we have steadfastly opposed the waiver and those behind it. We would like to thank the Black Parallel School Board, Hmong Innovating Politics, the Sacramento Coalition to Save Public Education, SEIU 1021 and the countless parents, community members and student advocates who have helped bring the waiver to light. We believe that in working collaboratively with the district and the community, we can make many of the more positive initiatives contained within the application a reality without the loss of local control to the unelected California Office to Reform Education.

We applaud the district’s decision not to seek a renewal of the waiver and look forward to working with them without this divisive topic hanging over all our conversations. SCTA continues to be committed to working with the district to implement the Common Core State Standards to ensure the rigorous learning expectations at all grade levels are met. Our hope is that in moving forward with the waiver behind us we can tackle many of the initiatives important to both the district and teachers. This important step is what we think is needed to change the conversation and improve relations. We are committed to doing our part in re-building the trust and working together to build a collaborative culture between district leadership, our members and the community we serve.

nclb

In addition to the groups Nikki mentioned, I think special recognition should go to our local organizing committee, under the leadership of Lori Jablonski and Nate Starace Nearby teacher locals like Elk Grove Educators Association, got their members involved and made it their fight too. Information sharing through CTA State Council (Alice Mercer and Carlos Rico) and other avenues helped spread the word throughout the state, AND helped locals/chapters in C.O.R.E. districts share strategies and information.

One can only hope that we’re starting a trend that will continue through the other CORE-member districts.

Here’s Sacramento Bee coverage of the press conference.

Here’s Education Week’s coverage of the withdrawal.

And here’s Ed Source’s coverage.

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April 8, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

Another Nail In VAM’s Coffin?

April 7, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

National Awards For Education Reporting Announced

ewa

The Education Writers Association just announced the winners of the 2013 National Awards for Education Reporting.

It’s an extensive and impressive list, and includes many links.

Unfortunately, you have to make a lot of “clicks” to get down to the names of the winners and links to their articles. It’s worth it, but I do hope they figure out a more user-friendly lay-out by next year…

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April 6, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

“Scarlet Letter” Comes To The UK: Get Good Test Results & You Can Wear Your Own Clothes, While Bad Results Means You Wear School Uniform

'Dunce' photo (c) 2009, ~Pawsitive~Candie_N - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Readers might remember the controversy around the southern California high school that issued color-coded student ID’s based on student standardized test scores. They also made students wait in different lunch lines, among other things. See The Best Resources To Learn About High School ID’s & The Scarlet Letter for more information.

Well, a school in the United Kingdom is applying their own version of the idea by letting students who score well in reading tests wear their own clothes while making those who didn’t wear school uniforms. See The Telegraph article, School’s mufti day ban for underachieving pupils ‘equivalent of dunce’s hat.’

I’m sure this strategy is going to be very effective in developing intrinsic motivation and a love for reading — NOT!

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April 5, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

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

'Thank a teacher' photo (c) 2011, Emily Mills - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

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

Charter School Refugees is an excellent New York Times column by Andrea Gabor. I’m adding it to The Best Posts & Articles Analyzing Charter Schools.

‘If only American teachers were smarter…’ is from The Washington Post. I’m adding it to The Best Resources On Professional Development For Teachers.

The No. 1 trait of Americans’ favorite teachers is from The Washington Post.

Moving Forward without a Backward Glance: MOOCs and Technological Innovations is by Larry Cuban. I’m adding it to The Best Posts & Articles On MOOC’s.

The Downside of “Grit” is by Alfie Kohn. I still think it’s an important concept to help students learn. However, this kind of backlash is understandable since some proponents have been communicating it as the answer to many educational problems. In fact, it’s just one of many skills our students need to develop in order to be successful. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About “Grit.”

Has Teach for America reached its Waterloo? is by Amy Dean. I’m adding it to The Best Posts & Articles Raising Concerns About Teach For America.

Ed-Data is a great place to get info on California’s K-12 schools. I’m adding it to The Best Places To Get Reliable, Valid, Accessible & Useful Education Data.

Keep the ‘public’ in public school boards appeared in The San Francisco Chronicle. It’s a commentary on the fact that many school reformers are now not content attacking teacher unions — they’re going after school boards, too. Michelle Rhee started this trend awhile back.

TestingTalk.org Launches National Discussion About Common Core Tests is by Anthony Cody. I have previously posted about this new site.

Word Attack: “Objective” is a really exceptional post appearing in Failing Schools.

Three Practical Questions About PARCC & SBAC Testing is by Rick Hess. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About The “Next Generation” Of State Testing.

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April 3, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

One Of The Worst Tweets I Read This Week Came From The Gates Foundation

It’s been a rather long week — I always know I teach at a 100% free breakfast and lunch comprehensive high schools, but there are some weeks I really know it. This was one of those latter weeks, with many challenges facing our students coming to the forefront. One pleasant thought I had though, after our staff meeting was this one: At least this year, most of our students here in California don’t have to take standardized tests this year!

And this is one of the first tweets I see when I get home:

Here’s what I “tweeted-out,” along with one particular response:

 

 

Here’s how the article (a newspaper column written by a charter school operator) Gates said was a “must-read” begins:

With the New York State English Language Arts exam this week, there have been stories galore about how a growing group of parents, concerned about the pressures of the state tests, are opting their children out from taking them.

At our 18 Brooklyn elementary and middle schools, we see this week differently. We see the state exams as a perfect opportunity for our teachers and leaders to create the wackiest and most joyful ways to pump up our 5,000 students as they gear up to show what they know.

In the days before this week’s test, teachers created motivational themes based on popular movies and TV shows focused on making kids laugh and inspiring them to do their best.

So rather than just see themselves as test-takers, our students became X-Men and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fighting off villains who try to steal their knowledge. The students had to decipher sinister messages from Voldemort, who tried to challenge their reading comprehension skills. By being exemplary readers and writers, they won the freedom of beloved teachers who were threatened by the likes of Darth Vader and Captain Hook.

Listen, I’m not opposed to a little test prep — it we gotta’ give these standardized tests sure, let’s spend a few days on preparing (see The Best Posts On How To Prepare For Standardized Tests (And Why They’re Bad) and Ethical & Effective Test Prep).

But, no, let’s not encourage students to value the tests as key evaluators of their learning, let’s not encourage a sense of competitiveness against other schools around their results, and no, let’s not use them to determine if “hard work paid off.”

I’m all for celebration. But don’t we have many more opportunities to do so that teach far more valuable lessons than focusing on standardized test results?

Im-all-for-celebration1

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March 31, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

“Testing Talk” Is A Forum For Feedback On “Next Generation” Of State Tests

teststest

Testing Talk is a new site designed to solicit feedback from educators on this next generation of state standardized testing.

I’m not quite clear on how it’s different from the Assessment Advisor, developed by the National Education Association (you can read my post about it at NEA Partners With Teach Plus & Creates Online Rating System For Student Assessments).

I do have to say that the committee of educators behind Testing Talk is pretty darn impressive, so I’m sure they’ve developed a rationale and a plan that does not duplicate the work of the Assessment Advisor. I’ll certainly be giving them my feedback on the tests!

You might also be interested in The Best Resources For Learning About The “Next Generation” Of State Testing.

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March 31, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

I Am Tired Of “School Reformers” Using The Civil Rights Movement Legacy To Support Their Agenda

deasy

Los Angeles Schools Superintendent John Deasy spoke today at USC on the Vergara lawsuit (see The Best Resources On California Court Case Attacking Teacher’s Rights).

Los Angeles Times reporter Howard Blume is not going to write a story about his speech, but he did send out these tweets:

This attempted appropriation of the Civil Rights Movement legacy as a “false dilemma fallacy” in support of a “reform” agenda is an insult to educators, students, families, and our communities. The choice is not one of either having “civil rights” for students or a “lower-quality teacher corps.” Teachers, and our unions, have been and will continue to be fierce fighters for the rights of our students.

More and more, this seems to be the real choice: One between educators who spend each day in schools and communities supporting their students and those with little connection to the classroom and who are backed by billionaires with even less interest in strengthening our system of public education.

Here are a few other articles on reformers and their misuse of the Civil Rights legacy:

Key flaw in market-based school reform: a misunderstanding of the civil rights struggle is from The Washington Post.

Beware of Education Reformers Who Co-Opt the Language of the Civil Rights Movement is by Denisha Jones.

Eva Moskowitz’s Shameful Misuse of Civil Rights is from The Huffington Post.

Does Tenure Violate the Civil Rights of Students? is by Diane Ravitch.

More-and-more-this-seems

What do you think?

Here are a couple of new additions — comments on this post:

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March 30, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

This Week’s “Round-Up” Of Good Posts, Articles & Videos On Education Policy

'DSC00589' photo (c) 2012, Shutter Stutter - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Here are some recent useful resources on educational policy issues:

Teachers union fights new plan by Sacramento and other school districts to address low-performing schools is from The Sacramento Bee. I’m adding it to The Best Posts & Articles On The NCLB Waiver Given To Eight California School Districts (Including Ours).

New York Schools: The Roar of the Charters is by Diane Ravitch at The New York Review of Books. I’m adding it to The Best Posts & Articles Analyzing Charter Schools.

The brainy questions on Finland’s only high-stakes standardized test is from The Washington Post. I’m adding it to The Best Resources To Learn About Finland’s Education System.

Who should decide who is college material and who isn’t? is from The Washington Post.

The education riddle we must solve now is by Barnett Berry.

Bill Moyers interviewed Diane Ravitch this week:

How to Criticize “Big Philanthropy” Effectively is by Joanne Barkan. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About The Role Of Private Foundations In Education Policy.

I think Salon could have come up with a better headline, but this interview with the author of a book on the Chicago Teachers Union is very interesting.

Here are some additions to The Best Resources On California Court Case Attacking Teacher’s Rights:

Commentary: Standing with Beatriz against Vergara is by LA School Board member Steve Zimmer.

Attorneys give final arguments in Vergara suit challenging laws for teacher hiring, firing is from Ed Source.

Fate of California Teacher-Protection Rules Now in Hands of Judge is from Ed Week.

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March 27, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
5 Comments

The Best Resources On Professional Development For Teachers — Help Me Find More

'Girl spleeping on desk' photo (c) 2008, reynermedia - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Even though we’ve been very lucky at our school to have great professional development, there have been times that I’ve had to attend absolutely terrible District-sponsored sessions. Unfortunately, terrible sessions are a common experience that many teachers share.

I thought I’d bring together a few potentially useful resources on the topic (including links to a number of related resources I’ve previously published) and invite readers to contribute more in the comments section:

I’ve got to start off with the recent infamous video clip from a Chicago Schools professional development session that I titled “Though It Seems Like A Parody, It’s A Real Professional Development Event.” I’ll reprint the entire post:

Karen Lewis, head of the Chicago Teachers Union, sent this out:

 

Here is the video’s description:

This presenter was one of several consultants flown in from California and the United Kingdom for the Chicago Public Schools’ Office of Strategic School Support Services’ special network. This is a professional development for teachers of Saturday ISAT preparation classes.

Yes, you can make a lot of things look bad taken out of context, but I don’t think a case can be made that this is appropriate for any professional development, or classroom, context….

Why most professional development for teachers is useless is an excellent piece by Valerie Strauss at The Washington Post.  She picked-up on my original post about the video, and followed-up with this one.

What Professional Development Should Be is by Nancy Flanagan.

Your Best Training Session Ever is by Daniel Coyle.

Lesson Study is an excellent post at Class Teaching about that well-known form of professional development in Japan.

Here are some of my previous posts related to professional development:

The Best Places For ESL/EFL/ELL Teachers To Get Online Professional Development

The Best Resources On “Instructional Coaching”

Great Story About Professional Development

“Professional Development in Action: Improving Teaching for English Learners”

Gates Foundation Makes Its Move In California — And It Looks Like Somebody Is Giving Them Good Advice

‘If only American teachers were smarter…’ is from The Washington Post.

Again, please feel free to contribute additional resources in the comments section!

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March 25, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

The Best Posts, Articles & Videos On “Teacher Leadership” — Contribute More!

'Lead' photo (c) 2012, Ray Larabie - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

“Teacher Leadership” is a phrase that’s used a lot, and to not always mean the same thing. It’s particularly important, I think, to talk about it now since Education Secretary Arne Duncan is kicking-off an initiative using the term (you’ll find commentaries on that effort later in this post).

I thought it might be useful to share a few of what I think are the best ones (or, at least, the ones that I think best convey what I think teacher leadership should mean).

To start off, here are two essential “Best” lists:

The Best Resources For Learning Why Teachers Unions Are Important

The Best Resources On Being A Teacherpreneur

Here are my other choices for The Best Posts & Articles On “Teacher Leadership”:

Will Arne Duncan leave a legacy of teacher leadership? is by Barnett Berry.

Does Duncan Believe in ‘Teach to Lead?’ is by Justin Minkel at Education Week.

Rick & Maddie on Sec. Duncan’s Earnest Call for Teacher ‘Leadership’ is from Rick Hess at Education Week. I think Rick Hess is right-on about Arne Duncan’s recent call for “teacher leadership.”

Check out Mary Tedrow’s blog post on the same topic.

Developing Teacher Leadership for the Long Haul is an article I wrote for Education Week Teacher.

Here’s a video presentation I gave as a Keynote at the K-12 Online Conference on the topic, “Developing Leadership in Classrooms, Schools and Communities”:

Leveraging Teacher Leadership is the theme of a recent ASCD Educational Leadership issue.

A Brilliant Management Insight Helps Chipotle Retain Its Best Employees is an interesting article from Business Insider that I think has applications for the development of teacher leadership.

I hope readers will contribute more resources!

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March 22, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

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

'' photo (c) 2012, Caelie_Frampton - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

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

Will Arne Duncan leave a legacy of teacher leadership? is by Barnett Berry. You might also be interested in my article and video, Developing Teacher Leadership for the Long Haul.

Amplify Curriculum Release Highlights New Questions for Districts is from Education Week.

I’m adding this tweet to The Best Posts About The Khan Academy:

Linda Darling-Hammond Testifies in Vergara Trial is from Diane Ravitch’s blog. I’m adding it to The Best Resources On California Court Case Attacking Teacher’s Rights.

DO TEACHERS NEED MORE ‘GRIT’? is an excellent series of commentaries at Education Week Teacher. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About “Grit.”

Performance pay for teachers: what is the true cost? is from The Guardian. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning Why Teacher Merit Pay Is A Bad Idea.

Public denied access to LA school officials’ iPad software demonstration is from Southern California Public Radio. I’m adding it to A Very Beginning List Of The Best Articles On The iPad Debacle In Los Angeles Schools.

One piece of the whole (article by Linda Darling-Hammond) comes via Stanford. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About Effective Student & Teacher Assessments.

Lesson Observations Are No Way To Grade Teachers is from Forbes. I’m adding it to the same list.

Report: As Teacher Demographics Change, Districts Must Prioritize Retention is from Education Week. I’m adding it to The Best Posts & Articles About The Importance Of Teacher (& Student) Working Conditions.

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March 20, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

Different Teachers, Different Classrooms, “but the thinking & learning going on inside students’ heads is the same”

What-your-classroom

Ted Appel, the principal at our school, made that comment when we were discussing that we can’t “fire our way to the Top or test our way to the Top” but, instead, we need to focus on “practicing to the Top.” In other words, we need to emphasize helping teachers hone their craft.

At the same time, we discussed how there is not necessarily universal agreement on what those “best practices” should be, and that’s when Ted commented on two of us who have very different teaching styles.

Coincidentally, the “question-of-the-week” at my Education Week Teacher column is “What Are Five Best Practices Teachers Can Implement?”

Many well-known and respected practitioners are contributing guest responses to that question, and I hope readers will also contribute. It will be interesting to see if there are any common denominators.

Also coincidentally, The Wall Street Journal published an article titled Two Economists on School Reform: We Know (A Few) Things That Work. It’s about a new book, Restoring Opportunity, and two economists examine three different schools to see how they achieve success. They claim to have identified some common practices, but I haven’t gotten a chance to read the book yet so can’t say for sure what I think of their findings (though I’m certainly skeptical of their assertion that Common Core is a key one and I do have a decidedly skeptical view of economists and education).

Interestingly, they created an infographic summarizing their book, which is embedded below using Pinterest (which means it won’t show-up in an RSS Reader).



Let me know if you think that, despite there being different communities, different students, and different teaching styles, there are some universals to good teaching practice…..

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March 20, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

Today Is “Character Day”?

day

Apparently, today is “Character Day” — whatever that means.

I believe (though may be wrong) that the film-maker behind the eight-minute video I’ve embedded below, came up with the idea and unveiled her film today. It’s called “The Science Of Character” and seems like a nice enough video — I could see presenting it as an introduction to a Social Emotional Learning lesson (see The Best Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Resources). The film’s home site offers a number of related teaching resources.

Personally, though, I’m much more enthusiastic about the resources and ideas put together by Facing History at 8 Multimedia Resources to Study the Science of Character on #CharacterDay.

As regular readers know, however, I’m becoming increasingly concerned about how the idea of teaching “character” is being “vanilla-ized” and/or manipulated towards inappropriate ends. You can see more of my thoughts in my Washington Post piece, The manipulation of Social Emotional Learning and in a recent blog post here titled This Has Me Concerned: “Study Links Teacher ‘Grit’ with Effectiveness, Retention.”

Nevertheless, I think it is possible to teach character in effective and appropriate ways. In fact, I’ve published two multi-part series on the topic at my Education Week Teacher column — last year and this year.

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