Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

December 2, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Tax Cut Terrible For Us, Our Students & Their Families, But At Least The Onion Was Able To Get An Ed-Related Laugh Out Of It

The so called “tax cut” passed by the U.S. Senate is terrible but at least The Onion got a good laugh out of it:

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

Here are more serious “takes” on the legislation that provide useful information:

Senate OKs Tax Bill Changing Teacher Deduction, Expanding School Choice is from Ed Week.

Study guide: What is in the GOP tax bill is from The PBS News Hour.

The G.O.P. Tax Plan Can Be Confusing. Here’s Help Deciphering It. is from The NY Times.

Here’s how income tax cuts will affect individual senators (and you) is from The Washington Post.

After a high-drama vote, here’s what the Senate tax bill means for schools, parents and students is from The Washington Post.

4 Ways the Republican Tax Plan Could Affect Teachers, Students and Schools is from TIME.

You might also be interested in:

The Best Sites For Learning About Taxes

The Best Resources About Wealth & Income Inequality

November 28, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

Excellent Post On Education Research By Dylan Wiliam

Dylan Wiliam, who may have written the best piece I’ve ever seen on formative assessment (see This ASCD Article By Dylan Wiliam May Be The Best Article You’ll Ever Read On Giving Students Feedback) has just written – if not the best, one of the best – articles on education research.

It’s headlined Getting educational research right, with a subtitle of “Research can guide teachers, but it cannot determine what will work in their classrooms.”

Here’s an excerpt:

 

I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Understanding How To Interpret Education Research.

November 25, 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 2017 – Part Two):

House Republicans have a little-known plan to raise taxes on teachers by $2 billion is from The Washington Post. I’m adding it to The Best Data On How Much Money Teachers Pay Out Of Their Own Pocket – What Do You Spend?

AltSchool wants to change how kids learn, but fears have surfaced that it’s failing students is from TechCrunch.

Education Department considers narrowing civil rights work is from The Associated Press.

In Newark, a study about school changes rings true — and raises questions — for people who lived them is from Chalkbeat. I’m adding it to The Best Posts & Articles For Learning About Newark’s $100 Million From Facebook.

This Is Just How Badly Scott Walker Has Decimated Public Schools in Wisconsin is from Mother Jones. I’m adding it to The Best Resources On The Awful Friedrichs Case.

Even When States Revise Standards, the Core of the Common Core Remains is from Ed Week. I’m adding it to A Collection Of My “Best” Lists On The Common Core.

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

November 24, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

The best and worst education news in 2017

Valerie Strauss at The Washington Post always publishes my annual list, and she’ll reprint it in early December.  However, she told me it was okay to give readers of my blog an early peak.

I’m adding this post to All 2017 “Best” Lists In One Place.

Here is my annual recap of the year’s Best & Worst Education News. As usual, I don’t presume to say it’s all-encompassing, so I hope you’ll take time to share your own choices. I’ll list the ones I think are the best first, followed by the worst. It’s too hard to rank them within those categories, so I’m not listing them in any order.

 

The Best Education News Of 2017

* More states are backing-off using student test scores as part of a teacher evaluation process.  That’s good news because of increasing research showing that those scores don’t provide accurate pictures of student academic achievement and, in fact, don’t show student advancement in many other important skills (not to mention penalizing teachers of so-called “at risk” students).

* Speaking of using test scores to evaluate teachers, Bill Gates announced that his foundation would no longer fund projects that promote that practice.  Instead, he says the foundation will focus on “local ideas.”   That’s good news though, of course, the devil will be in the details.

* Journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones was awarded a MacArthur Genius grant for her work on the impact of segregation in schools and housing. You can read an example of her work here.

* An attempt by the state of New Mexico to water down teaching of evolution and climate science was largely beaten back by grassroots opposition.

* A federal judge in Arizona ruled that the state’s stopping a Mexican-American Studies program was wrongly driven by “racial animus.”  The termination of the course ended up being a perfect example of the community organizing adage that “your opponents often do the best organizing for you” as it helped create momentum for ethnic studies courses to expand rapidly throughout the United States.

* Federal data was released showing a decrease in school violence and an increase in students feeling safer at their schools.

* The high school drop-out rate has continued to decrease for all ethnic groups.  Education researcher Kirabo Jackson points out that this positive development also has an often un-reported effect on standardized test scores – while various test scores used to label schools might not be increasing rapidly, that “slow” growth coincides with that substantial reduction of the drop-out rates across all ethnic groups. So, the overall student population taking the tests now has different, and more challenging, characteristics than the student population who formerly took the test.

* The New Teacher Center released an important report finding that increased levels of teacher leadership in schools led to increased student academic achievement. It would be nice if Central Offices and principals read it.

* Researchers found that when teachers at charter schools unionized, student achievement went-up.  What about that?  It’s almost like “teacher working conditions are student learning conditions.”

* Obamacare repeal failed, so its many benefits to our students, their families and our schools continue to be safe – for now.  Yes, it’s true – what happens outside of school has a big impact on what happens in school.

* Millions of students had great learning experiences in their schools this year.

 

The Worst Education News Of 2017

* President Trump kicked things off at his inauguration by saying that schools are “flush with cash” and our “beautiful students are deprived of all knowledge.”  He got the “beautiful students” part right, but blew it on everything else.

* President Trump announced the repeal of DACA, which could result in 20,000 teachers in the program facing deportation, along with 780,000 others.

* Betsy DeVos became U.S. Secretary of Education after a disasterous confirmation hearing which she blames on being “under-coached” (way to model taking personal responsibility!).  In addition to making a number of verbal miscues (no, public schools are not “taxis” and  school choice is not “Uber”; schools aren’t like “food trucks” and education is not a “side of fries”; and historically black college and universities are not “pioneers of school choice”), she has also made many destructive policy decisions, including ones on civil rights and for-profit colleges.  If her school choice plan is approved by Congress (or if she takes action on choice without Congressional approval), her legacy will only get worse.

* The Supreme Court announced that it will hear a case next year that will likely lead to the prohibition of required payment of union fees and a terrible blow to teacher unions and others (not to mention students and their families).

* Millions of teachers, students and their families suffered, and continue to suffer, from Hurricanes Harvey ; Irma, and Maria (especially those in Puerto Rico), as well as the Santa Rose fires.

* The Koch brothers have begun an eleven-state effort to recruit and convince Latino families that they should support public school privatization efforts.

* In what might be the most offensive school-related comment by a public official this year (during a time where there has been a lot of competition for that title), an Oklahoma state legislator suggested the state save money by turning over all English Language Learners to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). “Identify them and then turn them over to ICE to see if they truly are citizens — and do we really have to educate noncitizens?” said Republican Rep. Mike Ritze.

* A Florida High School apparently never got the memo that shaming students is an effective and unethical method of instruction.  In the tradition of schools in the recent past who have given students different colored wristbands for certain privileges and special dances based on behavior and grades, this high school “segregates students at lunch based on GPA.”

* As the PBS News Hour reports, “In 30 states, geographic communities can legally break away from large public school districts and form their own. As a result, a growing number of white and wealthier neighborhoods are creating their own schools and siphoning property taxes away from poorer, more diverse districts.”  I guess we all have to replicate the work of Nikole Hannah-Jones and others like her.

* More and more schools are grading students’ Social and Emotional Learning Schools.  Bad idea!  Learn more at Why Schools Should Not Grade Character Traits.

* Millions of students should have gotten a better education than they did this year.

 

The Most Important Education News Of 2017 That Isn’t Good or Bad

* Most states have submitted plans to the U.S. Department of Education about how they are going to implement the Every Student Succeeds Act.  It’s easy for plans to look good on paper.  Let’s see how they are implemented….

* Smarter Balanced and PARCC are the two most common standardized tests given in K-12 schools throughout the United States, In an under-reported story this year, all Smarter Balanced State English test scores went down & most PARCC states went up.  I’m not sure what it means, but it seems important to me.

 

You might also be interested in previous editions of this list:

The good — and very, very bad — education news of 2016

Best and worst Education News of 2015 – a teacher’s list

Best and worst education news of 2014 – a teacher’s list

The Best and worst education news of 2013

The best — and worst — education news of 2012

 

November 21, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

Researchers Find That African-American Students Punished More Severely Than Whites For Same Behavior

The same week that the U.S. Department of Education signaled that the Trump Administration may roll-back Obama-era regulations designed to reduce racial disparities in student discipline (see DeVos’ Team Hears Criticisms of Obama-Era Guidance on Student Discipline and Is DeVos Near Ending School Discipline Reform After Talks on Race, Safety? from The 74), a new study was unveiled showing – you guessed it – evidence of racial bias against African-Americans in school discipline.

Discipline disparities and discrimination in schools is the title of a summary of the research (you can also find a direct link to the study there).

Here’s an excerpt:

 

Incredibly, many still deny these disparities exist (see We Should Be Obsessed With Racial Equity).

This new study focuses only only on Louisiana (you can find links to research about other areas in the “Obsessed” post).

I also communicated directly on Twitter with one of the other other authors of this new study:

You might also be interested in The Best Resources For Learning About Restorative Practices – Help Me Find More.

November 20, 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 2017 – Part Two):

‘Precious Little Evidence’ That Vouchers Improve Achievement, Recent Research Finds is from Ed Week. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning Why School Vouchers Are A Bad Idea.

Here’s what happened to teachers after Wisconsin gutted its unions is from CNN. I’m adding it to The Best Resources On The Awful Friedrichs Case.

…But It Was The Very Best Butter! How Tests Can Be Reliable, Valid, and Worthless is by Robert Slavin. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Understanding How To Interpret Education Research.

What 150 Years of Education Statistics Say About Schools Today is from Ed Week. I’m adding it to The Best Resources To Learn About World Teachers Day.

Whatever Happened To MOOCs? is by Larry Cuban. I’m adding it to The Best Posts & Articles On MOOC’s — Help Me Find More.

November 12, 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 2017 – Part Two):

I’m happy I didn’t have to walk picket lines this week: Sacramento teacher strike averted. Union, city district reach deal ahead of planned walkout is from The Sacramento Bee. You might also be interested in The Best Resources For Learning Why Teachers Unions Are Important.

Stagnant California test scores pose problem; state board may rejigger how to rate districts is from Ed Source.

Full Circle? The Gates Pivot on Education and Where K-12 Philanthropy Is Heading is from Inside Philanthropy. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About The Role Of Private Foundations In Education Policy.

The Controversy Behind Chicago’s Diploma Mandate is from The Atlantic.

November 10, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

The Best Articles, Videos & Posts On Education Policy In 2017 – Part Two

 

It’s time for another of my end-of-year “Best” lists (you can see all 1,800 “The Best…” lists here).

I’m adding this one to All 2017 “Best” Lists – In One Place!

You might also be interested in:

The Best Articles, Videos & Posts On Education Policy In 2017 – So Far

The Best Articles, Videos & Posts On Education Policy In 2016 – Part Two

The Best Articles, Videos & Posts On Education Policy In 2016 – So Far

The Best Articles, Videos & Posts On Education Policy In 2015 – Part Two

The Best Articles & Posts On Education Policy In 2015 – So Far

The Best Articles, Posts & Videos On Education Policy In 2014 – Part Two

The Best Articles & Posts On Education Policy In 2014 – So Far

The Best Articles, Videos & Posts On Education Policy In 2013 — Part Two

All My 2013 “The Best…” Lists (So Far) On Education Policy In One Place

All My 2012 “The Best…” Lists On Education Policy In One Place

The Best Articles, Videos & Posts On Education Policy In 2012 — Part Two

The Best Articles, Videos & Posts On Education Policy In 2012 — Part One

The Best Articles & Posts On Education Policy In 2011 — Part Two

The Best Articles & Posts On Education Polcy In 2011 — Part One

The Best Articles & Posts On Education Policy — 2010

The “Best” Articles (And Blog Posts) About Education Policy — 2009

The “Best” Articles About Education — 2008

The “Best” Articles About Education — 2007

Here are my choices for The Best Articles, Videos & Posts On Education Policy In 2017 – Part Two (let me know what you think I’m missing). these are not listed in any order of preference:

More Studies Finding That If Educators Are Good At Raising Test Scores, They Might Be Missing The Boat With Other Skills

Education Isn’t the Key to a Good Income is by Rachel Cohen. She also posted a follow-up to it. I’m adding them both to The Best Resources On Why Improving Education Is Not THE Answer To Poverty & Inequality.

This Is Interesting: All Smarter Balanced State English Test Scores Went Down & Most PARCC States Went Up

Teachers’ unions and school performance: Evidence from California charter schools is a new study showing that student achievement increased in charter schools after they unionized. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning Why Teachers Unions Are Important.  Chalkbeat has an article about the study.

Useful Recommendations For Reducing Drop-Out Rates

The Theory And Practice Of School Closures is from The Shanker Blog. I’m adding it to The Best Posts & Articles On The Impact Of School Closures — Suggest More!

Research “Proves” – Very Little appeared in Ed Week. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Understanding How To Interpret Education Research.

Don’t Suspend Students. Empathize. is a pretty interesting NY Times column by David L. Kirp.

New Study Finds VAM Is Biased Against Teachers Of “At Risk” Students

School segregation didn’t go away. It just evolved. is from Vox. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About School Desegregation (& Segregation) – Help Me Find More.

Can a Tech Start-Up Successfully Educate Children in the Developing World? appeared in The New York Times. It’s a deep dive into a for-profit effort to create schools in Africa.

‘Personalized Learning’ and the Power of the Gates Foundation to Shape Education Policy is from Audrey Watters. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About The Role Of Private Foundations In Education Policy.

The Best Resources On The Idea Of Evaluating Teacher “Input” Instead Of Student “Output”

How Does Professional Development Improve Teaching? seems like a pretty important paper. I’m adding it to The Best Resources On Professional Development For Teachers — Help Me Find More.

Reform Lessons from Skeptical But Not Cynical Veterans is by Larry Cuban. I’m adding it to The Best Posts & Articles On Building Influence & Creating Change.

DeVos says school spending and student outcomes aren’t related, but recent research suggests otherwise is from Matt Barnum. I’m adding it to The Best Sites For Learning That Money Does Matter For Schools.

The Silicon Valley Billionaires Remaking America’s Schools is from The New York Times. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About The Role Of Private Foundations In Education Policy.

Hollywood’s Reductive Narratives About School is from The Atlantic. I’m adding it to The Best Places To Learn About (And View Video Clips Of) Teachers In The Movies.

Two Important Reports On Education Released Today

 

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