Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

May 3, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

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

'Kids Should Play, Not Pay' photo (c) 2009, William Murphy - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

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

Jack Schneider has written a good piece titled The High Stakes of Teacher Evaluation. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About Effective Student & Teacher Assessments.

EPI Stands By the Rigorous Methods and Findings of Its Report on Privately Run Charter Schools and the Rocketship Company is from The Economic Policy Institute. I’m adding it to The Best Posts & Articles Analyzing Charter Schools.

At Success Academy schools, high-octane test prep leaves nothing to chance is from Chalkbeat. I’m adding it to the same list.

Teachers are losing their jobs, but Teach for America’s expanding. What’s wrong with that? is from The Hechinger Report. I’m adding it to The Best Posts & Articles Raising Concerns About Teach For America.

Teachers and Doctors Rated Differently is by Walt Gardner at Ed Week. You might be interested in a number of other posts I’ve written comparing doctors and teachers.

Vergara suit wrong to blame teachers for inequities is by Randi Weingarten. I’m adding it to The Best Resources On California Court Case Attacking Teacher’s Rights.

Ending Seniority Transfers Won’t Fix Teacher Quality Gaps is by John Thompson.

The New York City teachers union reached what appears to be a landmark contract that also includes a career ladder. Especially because of that last feature, I’m going to include these three pieces about the contract in The Best Posts, Articles & Videos On “Teacher Leadership”:

Pact With New Mayor Would Give N.Y.C. Teachers Raises, Career Ladder is from Ed Week.

A Triumphant Return to Professionalism in New York City is by Diane Ravtich.

Teachers Question Pay-for-Performance Element in Proposed Contract is from The New York Times.

Pearson Wins Major Contract From Common-Core Testing Consortium is from Ed Week. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About The “Next Generation” Of State Testing.

My Reaction to the PARCC & SBAC Responses is by Rick Hess. I’m adding it to the same list.

The Houston teachers union has sued over the district’s use of Value-Added Measurement in teacher evaluations. You can read about it in Ed Week here and also watch this video of their news conference. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About The “Value-Added” Approach Towards Teacher Evaluation.

And here’s a tweet providing further info:

Gates’ $100M Philanthropic Venture inBloom Dies after Parents Say “No Way” is from The Non-Profit Quarterly. Here’s an excerpt:

Nonetheless, finding experienced grantmakers like Gates and Carnegie misreading the interests and desires of the parents and educators who were purportedly the intended beneficiaries is surprising, if not shocking. It’s an unfortunate reflection of the top-down approach of some foundations, issuing prescriptions for the benefit of the public even if that public doesn’t buy in. The inability of many funders to see how counterproductive and unpopular their technocratic solutions are with their intended beneficiaries is a disappointingly pervasive trend in much of big philanthropy

You might also be interested in The Best Posts On The inBloom Data Fiasco. I’m going to add this article, though, to The Best Resources For Learning About The Role Of Private Foundations In Education Policy.

California Districts Seek to Renew NCLB Waiver is from Ed Week. I’m adding it to The Best Posts & Articles On The NCLB Waiver Given To Eight California School Districts.

What Would Better Professional Development Look Like? is a conversation between Michelle Rhee and Jack Schneider in Ed Week. I’m adding it to The Best Resources On Professional Development For Teachers.

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.

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 (you might also be interested in The Best Places For ESL/EFL/ELL Teachers To Get Online Professional Development):

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.

What Would Better Professional Development Look Like? is a conversation between Michelle Rhee and Jack Schneider in Ed Week.

Rethinking Classroom Observation by Emily Dolci Grimm, Trent Kaufman and Dave Doty is excellent.

Research Says / Keep Professional Learning Groups Small, But Connected is by Bryan Goodwin (who always writes great stuff).

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

October 26, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

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

'PREPARATION: Education Budget Cuts Protest' photo (c) 2008, William Murphy - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Here are some useful posts and articles that appeared this week on education policy issues:

Teach for America rises as political powerhouse is from Politico. I’m adding it to The Best Posts & Articles Raising Concerns About Teach For America.

The Great Lakes Center has released an excellent report on Data-driven Improvement and Accountability. The Washington Post published an excerpt, Six principles for using data to hold people accountable. I’m adding them both to The Best Resources Showing Why We Need To Be “Data-Informed” & Not “Data-Driven.”

Linda Darling-Hammond on the Common Core Standards appeared in Diane Ravitch’s blog. I’m adding it to The Best Articles Sharing Concerns About Common Core Standards.

There has been a fair amount of media attention devoted to a new study saying that the teacher evaluation plan instituted by Michelle Rhee in Washington, D.C. was effective. However, John Thompson sets the record straight.

Assessment Consortia: Who’s In And Who’s Out? is from Education Week. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About The “Next Generation” Of State Testing.

LA Unified School District has no Plan B for iPad project 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.

I’m adding More questions on L.A. Unified’s iPad program, but few answers to the same list.

Curriculum Prompts New Concerns in L.A. iPad Plan is from Ed Week, and goes to the same list.

I thought these were an important string of tweets:

The “Ed Schools are the Problem” Fallacy is from School Finance 101.

Though I’m very familiar with the famous “Walkout!” of Los Angeles schools in 1968, I’m embarrassed to say that I had never heard of 200,000 strong 1963 boycott of the Chicago schools by predominantly African-American students. This past week was its fiftieth anniversary. You can read more about it at Valerie Strauss’ blog in The Washington Post and watch this short clip from soon-to-be-released documentary about it (thanks to Alexander Russo for the tip):

September 21, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

Reviews Of Diane Ravitch’s New Book

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As you probably know, Diane Ravitch’s new book, Reign Of Error, has just been published. I have it on my nightstand, and am looking forward to reading it (and looking forward to hearing her speak in Sacramento this week).

In the meantime, though, here are some links to what I think are a few thought-provoking reviews of it:

Education Week has a nice round-up, including many links to a variety of reviews.

Technology, Progressive Education, and Diane Ravitch’s Reign of Error is by Audrey Watters.

The Two Faces Of American Education appeared in The New York Review of Books.

July 22, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

The Latest Example Of School Reformer Irony

I’ve added today’s tweet from Michelle Rhee to The Best Examples Of School Reformer Irony:

June 28, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

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

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I’ve posted quite a few “The Best…” lists on education policy issues this year, and thought readers might find it useful if I collected them all in one post.

You might also be interested in:

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

A Collection Of “The Best…” Lists On School Reform Issues — 2011

The Best “The Best…” Lists On School Reform Issues — 2010

Here are all my 2013 (So Far) “Best” lists on education policy issues:

The Best Posts & Articles On The New NCLB Reauthorization Bill

A Beginning List Of The Best Posts & Articles On The Charter School CREDO Study

The Best Articles, Videos & Posts On Education Policy In 2013 – So Far

The Best Of The Hashtag #SaidNoEducationVendorEver

The Best Evidence For Why Giving Schools “Report Cards” Is Bad — Help Me Find More

The Best Resources On The Memo Warning Rhee About Cheating (“It seems to me a responsible executive really ought to have looked further”)

The Best Posts On LA’s Banning Of Suspensions For “Willful Defiance” (Along With Commentary From An LA Teacher)

The Best Posts & Articles On MOOC’s — Help Me Find More

My Choices For The Best Posts From The Shanker Blog

The Best Posts & Articles On The Impact Of School Closures — Suggest More!

The Best Resources For Learning About Ability Grouping & Tracking — Help Me Find More

The Best Posts On The Annual MetLife Survey Of The American Teacher

The Best Resources On Peer Assistance & Review (PAR) Programs

A Beginning List Of The Best Resources On The Seattle Standardized Test Boycott

A Beginning List Of The Best Posts On Gates’ Final MET “Effective Teaching” Report

June 26, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

The Best Examples Of School Reformer Irony

'Oh, the IRONY!' photo (c) 2012, Duncan Hull - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

NOTE: I’ve converted this original post into a “The Best…” list

Today, The Wall Street Journal published an article pointing out that top New York City school administrators (who pushed for the public release of teacher evaluations and who fought bitterly with the teachers union to get an unfair evaluation system for them in place) are not given…wait for it…evaluations:

Top administrators at the city’s Department of Education haven’t been subject to formal evaluations during the Bloomberg administration, a break from past practice and an unusual occurrence among school districts across the U.S.

The disclosure follows the culmination of a yearslong battle by Mayor Michael Bloomberg to implement tougher teacher and principal evaluations in the district.

Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott, who has been on the job since April 2011, said formal job reviews weren’t necessary because he informally evaluated his staff daily, and he was evaluated daily by the mayor. Teachers, he said, were in a different position.

“They’re in front of the classroom and teaching our children, and we need to have a sense of how well they’re doing,” he said. “With us, we’re not teaching children directly, we’re setting policy. And I don’t think it’s hypocritical at all.”

This joins a long list of other examples showing that many school reformers had difficulty understanding what “irony” means.

Those past instances include:

The Los Angeles Times refusing to release
a letter from the Chamber of Commerce and other groups asking them not to publish teaching ratings. Their reason — they cited privacy concerns.

School reformers criticizing teachers in Baltimore for not offering test prep in a “conceptually rich, emotionally warm and interactive manner.”

President Obama criticizing local public schools
for not adopting practices of the Sidwell Friends School, when his own education policies oppose discourage those practices.

Here’s a tweet from Michelle Rhee that belongs on this list:

 

Do you know of other examples?

June 26, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
3 Comments

The Best Websites For English Language Learner Students In 2013 – So Far

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This list focuses on sites that ELL students would use directly. Of course, many other sites on my other lists can also be used effectively with ELL’s.

You might also be interested in:

The Best Websites For English Language Learner Students In 2012 — Part Two

The Best Websites For English Language Learner Students In 2012 — Part One

The Best Websites For English Language Learner Students In 2011

The Best Websites For English Language Learner Students — 2010

The Best Websites For English Language Learner Students — 2009

The Best Internet Sites For English Language Learners — 2008

The Best Internet Sites For English Language Learners — 2007

The Best Web 2.0 Applications for ESL/EFL Learners — 2007

Here are my choices for The Best Websites For English Language Learner Students In 2013 – So Far:

The Best Ways To Create Online Content Easily & Quickly In 2013 – So Far

English Plus is a new interactive site from The Oxford University Press.

I’ve previously posted about Scholastic’s excellent “Listen and Read” collection of simple books that provide audio for the text. Thanks to Crista Anderson, I’ve learned that National Geographic has a similar feature.

The Best Online Geography Games

A Beginning List Of The Best Sites For ELLs To Learn About The Pacific Region

Lingo Hut seems like a pretty impressive site for beginning learners of many different languages, including English.

Using a drop-down menu, you can easily select your native language and the language you want to learn, and then progress through a well-designed series of exercises including reading, listening and speaking.

Tar Heel Reader is one of the best sites on the Internet for students to read and write books. It’s on The Best Places Where Students Can Write Online list and The Best Websites To Help Beginning Readers list. They’ve just done a nice redesign of their site, and David Deubelbeiss has created a simple screencast explaining it.

I’ve written extensively about how I use online video games for language-learning activities with ELLS.

Here are a few new ones that, with luck, aren’t blocked by your school’s content filters (be sure to click the “English” language option for all of them):

Neighbor — here’s its walkthrough

Station — here’s its walkthrough

Escape From The Entrance Hall — here’s its walkthrough

Escape From The Dining Room — Here’s its walkthrough

A Beginning List Of The Best Geography Sites For Learning About Asia & The Middle East

The Best Places To Create Funny Subtitles For Silent Movies

I Wish You To lets you easily draw and create your own Ecards, which you can post, embed, and/or send to someone — and no registration is required.

A Beginning List Of The Best Geography Sites For Learning About Africa

Here’s a new announcement from The Cultural Orientation Resource Center:

With training and guidance from COR Center colleagues at the Center for Applied Linguistics, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Bureau of Consumer Protection has developed a website with financial literacy information for people with low literacy levels. Available in both English and Spanish, materials include resources regarding managing money; credit, loans, and debt; and identify theft and scams.

I checked it out, and it’s a great resource. It’s very accessible, and includes audio support for the text. Too bad it seems short on images and videos but, nevertheless, it will come in very handy.

The Best Geography Sites For Learning About Europe

Phrase.it lets you easily add speech bubbles with your text to photos. You can upload your own, or choose a random image from the site. You’re then given a link to your creation.

Pumarosa has long been on The Best Multilingual & Bilingual Sites For Learning English list.

Now, though, Paul Rogers, the site’s creator, has decided to allow free access to its Civics and U.S. History section. Because of that, I’m also adding the site to The Best Websites For Learning About Civic Participation & Citizenship list.

Feedback is welcome.

If you found this post useful, you might want to consider subscribing to this blog for free.

You might also want to explore the 1100 other “The Best…” lists I’ve compiled.

June 18, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

The Best Articles, Videos & Posts On Education Policy In 2013 – So Far

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Here’s yet another mid-year “The Best…” list….

You might also be interested in:

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 & Posts On Education Policy In 2013 — So Far (not listed in order of preference):

Here’s a great video animation created by Scott McLeod where he imagines a conversation between a policy maker and an educator about “teacher accountability.”

I’m adding it to A Collection Of The Best “Laugh While You Cry” Videos.

How Michelle Rhee Misled Education Reform is an extraordinary article in this week’s New Republic magazine. It’s written by Nicholas Lemann, dean of the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism and author of several exceptional books.

Here’s a short excerpt:Rhee-simply-isnt

What teachers need and reformers ignore: time to collaborate is an important column by Linda Darling-Hammond that appeared in The Washington Post this week.

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

Here’s an excerpt:

The PBS News Hour aired an impressive report on project-based learning in a Kentucky school district. I’m embedding the video below, but it might not come through on an RSS Reader:

Watch School District Uses Project Based Learning Over Testing on PBS. See more from PBS NewsHour.

The report refers to an interesting program in that state called “districts of innovation. You can read more about them here and here.

I’m adding this info to The Best Sites For Cooperative Learning Ideas and to The Best Articles Describing Alternatives To High-Stakes Testing.

Teachers Make Handy Scapegoats, But Spiraling Inequality Is Really What Ails Our Education System is an interview with Linda Darling Hammond.

The New Yorker published a great piece titled Seattle’s Low-Stakes Testing Trap. Here’s a quote:

There was a very important column in  New York Times titled The Secret To Fixing Bad Schools. It was written by David L. Kirp from the University of California.

He focused on the positive performance of schools in Union City, New Jersey. Here’s an excerpt:

What makes Union City remarkable is, paradoxically, the absence of pizazz. It hasn’t followed the herd by closing “underperforming” schools or giving the boot to hordes of teachers. No Teach for America recruits toil in its classrooms, and there are no charter schools.

A quarter-century ago, fear of a state takeover catalyzed a transformation. The district’s best educators were asked to design a curriculum based on evidence, not hunch. Learning by doing replaced learning by rote. Kids who came to school speaking only Spanish became truly bilingual, taught how to read and write in their native tongue before tackling English. Parents were enlisted in the cause. Teachers were urged to work together, the superstars mentoring the stragglers and coaches recruited to add expertise. Principals were expected to become educational leaders, not just disciplinarians and paper-shufflers.

Philanthropy: You’re doing it wrong is by Felix Salmon.

It’s a must-read. Here’s how it ends:

Philanthropy has always been self-serving in large part, and that’s never going to end. But there’s no good reason why you should be part of the problem.

New Research Shows Why Social Emotional Learning (SEL) and Character Education Are Not Enough is a post I wrote. I don’t think the post itself belongs on this list, but it highlights and connects two pieces that do — one by Mike Rose, and another on a new research study.

David B. Cohen wrote an excellent post about the Common Core debate that arose out of my Education Week Teacher column  on implementing the Common Core in Language Arts.

More Evidence Showing The Dangers Of Using High-Stakes Testing For Teacher Evaluation
is another post I wrote. Again, the post itself doesn’t deserve to be on the list, but the research it highlights does…

Feedback is welcome.

If you found this post useful, you might want to look at the 1100 other “The Best…” lists and consider subscribing to this blog for free.

April 27, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

April’s “The Best…” Lists — There Are Now 1,090 Of Them

April 24, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

This Week’s “Links I Should Have Posted About, But Didn’t”

I have a huge backlog of resources that I’ve been planning to post about in this blog but, just because of time constraints, have not gotten around to doing. Instead of letting that backlog grow bigger, I regularly grab a few and list them here with a minimal description. It forces me to look through these older links, and help me organize them for my own use. I hope others will find them helpful, too. These are resources that I didn’t include in my “Best Tweets” feature because I had planned to post about them, or because I didn’t even get around to sending a tweet sharing them.

Here are This Week’s “Links I Should Have Posted About, But Didn’t”:

Saving a language, and a culture is from The Los Angeles Times. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For International Mother Language Day.

Scraping the Sky is a Wall Street Journal slideshow. I’m adding it to The Best Sites To Learn About The World’s Tallest Buildings.

Tar Heel Reader is one of the best sites on the Internet for students to read and write books. It’s on The Best Places Where Students Can Write Online list and The Best Websites To Help Beginning Readers list. They’ve just done a nice redesign of their site, and David Deubelbeiss has created a simple screencast explaining it.

Sochi 2014: An Olympic Preview is a photo gallery from The Atlantic. I’m adding it to The Best Sites For Learning About The Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games.

Deep-Space Photos: Hubble’s Greatest Hits is from TIME Magazine. I’m adding it to The Best Sites To Learn About The Hubble Telescope.

I’m adding this infographic to The Best Sites For Learning About Nutrition & Food Safety:

April 13, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

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

April 1, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

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

Here are a few relatively recent posts and article on education policy issues:

Where school reform fails to meet classroom reality appeared in Valerie Strauss’ blog at The Washington Post.

Teachers Make Handy Scapegoats, But Spiraling Inequality Is Really What Ails Our Education System is an interview with Linda Darling Hammond. I’m adding it to The Best Articles Providing An “Overall” Perspective On Education Policy.

Michelle Rhee is wrong is by John Prosser. I’m adding it to The Best Resources On The Seattle Standardized Test Boycott.

A Controversial Consensus On KIPP Charter Schools is from The Shanker Blog. I’m adding it toThe Best Posts & Articles Analyzing Charter Schools.

Why California Tightened Oversight of New Teachers is from Diane Ravitch’s blog. I’m adding it to The Best Posts & Articles Raising Concerns About Teach For America.

January 24, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
3 Comments

A Beginning List Of The Best Resources On The Seattle Standardized Test Boycott

'Test Plan Template - Part #5 Test Execution' photo (c) 2009, IvanWalsh.com - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

There has been a fair amount of publicity this month about the decision by teachers in Seattle’s Garfield High School (followed by some other schools in the same district) to refuse to administer a standardized test called MAP — Measures of Academic Progress.

Admittedly, I don’t know every single detail but, based on what I know, the Garfield teachers have made a very wise strategic decision to focus on what might be the standardized test that is most open to attack. Consequently, their effort could “kick-start” a national conversation about the role of all standardized tests and a serious exploration of alternatives like performance based assessments and portfolios (you can see links to my series of “Best” lists on assessment here).

They are not boycotting state-mandated tests, just the district one. It was brought in by the previous superintendent, who served on the board of the organization that markets the MAP test and she was cited by the state for committing an ethics violation by doing so. And, even though that same organization says the test should not be used in teacher evaluation, the Seattle school district does. It can only be taken by computer, which results in school computer labs being booked-up for weeks at a time.

Seems like a perfect target to me.

Here are some resources on what’s going on up there. I hope readers will suggest others. And you might also be interested in The Best Posts On How To Prepare For Standardized Tests (And Why They’re Bad):

NEA President: Seattle Teachers’ Stand Against Flawed Testing a “Defining Moment”

AFT Endorses Garfield Teachers’ Test Boycott

Teachers’ test boycott draws growing support

Teachers refuse to give standardized test at Seattle high schools — Update

Standoff escalates over test boycott

Seattle teachers warned they must give students MAP test … or else

Wayne Au on His Alma Mater Garfield High School

NEA Supports Seattle Teachers Protesting Standardized Test

Seattle Teachers Protest Exams is from The Wall Street Journal.

Seattle Education has a number of useful updates.

Today We Are All Garfield Teachers! is from John Wilson at Education Week.

What You Need to Know About the Seattle Teachers’ Rebellion and the Deeply Flawed Test That Inspired It is from AlterNet.

Seattle teachers face sanctions for refusing to give standardized test is from The Washington Post.

Here’s an embedded clip showing student reaction to the boycott:



Parents joining teachers’ test boycott as Garfield High principals give exam
is from The Seattle Times.

Test Boycott Puts Seattle Teachers in National Spotlight
is from Education Week.

Seattle Teachers and the Administrative Politics of Formative Assessment is by Sherman Dorn.

Teacher standoff stokes debate over standardized tests is from Reuters.

Michelle Rhee is wrong is by John Prosser.

Seattle eases rules on exams teachers are boycotting is from The Seattle Times.

No discipline for Seattle teachers in boycott of MAP exams is from The Seattle Times.

Seattle high schools can omit MAP exams is from The Seattle Times.

How Garfield High Defeated the MAP Test is from Seattle Magazine.

If you found this post useful, you might want to consider subscribing to this blog for free.

You might also want to explore the 1000 other “The Best…” lists I’ve compiled.

August 29, 2012
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

Sacramento Bee Newspaper Starts Education Blog

The Sacramento Bee has just announced their new education blog, Report Card.

Reporters Diana Lambert and Melody Gutierrez, longtime writers on education issues, will be the primary authors. Since we’re the state capitol, there’s always lots of news to report in addition to local issues. And, of course, we’re home to Michelle Rhee’s and her organization, StudentsFirst, along with her husband, Sacramento Mayor and charter school founder Kevin Johnson.

January 23, 2012
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

A “Round-Up” Of Recent Good School Reform Posts & Articles

Here are a number of recent good posts and articles on school policy issues:

Opinion: Creating teacher evaluations systems Californians can believe in appeared in the San Jose Mercury News. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About Effective Student & Teacher Assessments.

On Creating a Useful Teacher Evaluation System is by James Bouton. I’m adding it to the same list.

What Works in School Turnarounds? is by Alan M. Blankstein and Pedro Noguera. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About The Four School Improvement Grant Models.

What Happens When Teacher Voices Depend on Foundations’ Choices? is by Anthony Cody at Ed Week. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About The Role Of Private Foundations In Education Policy.

Dear Michelle Rhee: About that teacher evaluation study is by Valerie Strauss at The Washington Post. I’m adding it to The Best Posts On The NY Times-Featured Teacher Effectiveness Study.

Follow up on Fire First, Ask Questions Later is from School Finance 101. I’m adding it to the same list.

What Can We Learn from Educational Change in Finland? is by Pasi Sahlberg. I’m adding it to The Best Resources To Learn About Finland’s Education System.

Finnishing School is from Thoughts On Public Education. I’m adding it to the same list.

The Finland Phenomenon: What the U.S. Can Learn about Teacher Preparation and Professional Collaboration is from CCSSO. I’m adding it to the same list.

Can Schools Solve Societal Problems? is from Learning First. I’m adding it to The Best Places To Learn What Impact A Teacher (& Outside Factors) Have On Student Achievement.

False Choices: The Economic Argument Against Market-Driven Education Reform is a report from Minnesota 20/20. I’m adding it to The Best Posts & Articles Explaining Why Schools Should Not Be Run Like Businesses.

January 22, 2012
by Larry Ferlazzo
10 Comments

“Describe What It Means To Be A Great Teacher In Six Words”

I guess it’s a “storifying” weekend for me….

Michelle Rhee’s organization, StudentsFirst, is sponsoring a contest to “describe what it means to be a great teacher in six words.” Educators on Twitter who have a decidedly different vision of teaching created the hashtag of #6wordessay to share their own perspective. I’ve used Storify to show a sample of what people are coming up with. If you’re on Twitter, contribute your own there. If you don’t tweet, feel free to leave a comment on this blog post.