Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

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June 9, 2012
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

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

Here are several recent good education policy-related posts and articles:

High School Reunion is by Mike Rose.

What Can Voucher Fans Learn from the Space X Mission? is by Bill Ferriter. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning Why School Vouchers Are A Bad Idea.

Do Our Public Schools Threaten National Security? is by Diane Ravitch. I’m adding it to The Best Posts & Articles On The Education & National Security Report.

Yong Zhao in Conversation: Education Should Liberate, Not Indoctrinate is from Education Week.

What Do NAEP Scores Mean? is by Diane Ravitch.

The worst eighth-grade math teacher in New York City is by Aaron Pallas. I’m adding it to The Best Posts & Articles About The New York Court Decision Releasing Teacher Ratings.

Student surveys for children as young as 5 years old may help rate teachers is from The Washington Post. This ridiculous idea is just another example of how “school reformers” can take an idea that has great potential and warp it so everyone gets harmed. I’m adding it to The Best Posts On Students Evaluating Classes (And Teachers).

The fantasies driving school reform: A primer for education graduates is by Richard Rothstein. I’m adding it to The Best Places To Learn What Impact A Teacher & Outside Factors Have On Student Achievement.

Teachers’ performance pay ‘does not raise standards’ is from The BBC. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning Why Teacher Merit Pay Is A Bad Idea.

The Paradox Of Performance Pay is from Farnam Street. I’m adding it to the same list.

Where should we focus our efforts? is from Delta Scape.

February 24, 2012
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

This Week’s “Round-Up” Of Good School Reform Posts & Articles

November 8, 2011
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

This Week’s “Round-Up” Of Good School Reform Posts & Articles

November 4, 2011
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

This Week’s “Round-Up” Of Good School Reform Posts & Articles

August 29, 2011
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

The Best Commentaries On Steven Brill’s Book, “Class Warfare”

I had originally thought I wasn’t going to create a “The Best…” list of book reviews on Steve Brill’s new book, Class Warfare. However, there have been several excellent ones that — in addition to reviewing the book — make larger points on the whole school reform debate.

Here are my choices for The Best Commentaries On Steven Brill’s Book, “Class Warfare”

Grading the Education Reformers is by Richard Rothstein and appeared in Slate.

Here’s a teacher-written review that appeared in The Washington Post.

Steve Brill’s Report Card on School Reform is from the New York Times Book Review.

Teachers Get Little Say in a Book About Them is from The New York Times.

Steve Brill’s blinkered view of education is from Reuters.

Should we really expect schools to cure poverty? is also from Reuters.

And, if you want want to “get into it,” nothing beats the twenty page analysis Gary Rubinstein has put together.

Additional contributions are 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 nearly 760 other “The Best…” lists I’ve compiled.

July 26, 2011
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

The Best Articles & Posts On Education Policy In 2011 — So Far

(NOTE: This is the second time I’m publishing this post today. For some weird reason, the first time it was published RSS Feed Readers didn’t pick it up. I know it will look a little strange to have two identical posts showing up on my blog, but I also know that Twitter and Google+ readers have already bookmarked the previous version and I didn’t want to mess them up)

I usually just do a year-end list on this topic and many others, but it gets a little crazy having to review all of my zillion posts at once. So, to make it easier for me — and perhaps, to make it a little more useful to readers — I’m going to start publishing mid-year lists, too. These won’t be ranked, unlike my year-end “The Best…” lists, and just because a site appears on a mid-year list doesn’t guarantee it will be included in an end-of-the-year one (especially since this mid-year list is so long and will have to be trimmed-down). But, at least, I won’t have to review all my year’s posts in December…

You might also be interested in these previous editions:

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 2011 — So Far:

On Treating Students & Educators ‘Like Rats in a Maze’ by Diane Ravitch

Teacher Evaluations through Student Testing by Linda Darling-Hammond

The Service of Democratic Education is a truly exceptional speech Linda Darling-Hammond gave at Teachers College of Columbia University.

On False Dichotomies and Warped Reformy Logic is from School Finance 101.

Five myths about America’s schools is an excellent Washington Post column by Post reporter Paul Farhi.

An excellent post appeared in The Washington Post’s “The Answer Sheet” titled NY regent: Why we shouldn’t link teacher evaluation to test scores.

I wrote Videotaping teachers the right way (not the Gates way) that also was in The Washington Post.

Mathematical Intimidation: Driven by the Data is by John Ewing, president of Math For America. He provides a good critique of value-added assessment.

Larry Cuban has written a very important post titled Teacher Resistance and Reform Failure

Who’s Bashing Teachers and Public Schools and What Can We Do About It? appeared in Rethinking Schools and is by Stan Karp.

What Do Teachers “Produce”? is by Diana Senechal and appeared in the Core Knowledge Blog.

The Test Generation is an article by Dana Goldstein that was published in The American Prospect magazine. It gives an excellent overview of what’s happening around the country, and particularly in Colorado, around high-stakes standardized testing.

The beatings will continue until teacher morale improves appeared in the Christian Science Monitor and is by Walt Gardner.

What I Learned at School is an op-ed in The New York Times. It’s written by novelist Marie Myung-Ok Lee.

Déjà vu all over again: A lesson from the history of school reform is by Mike Rose and appeared in The Washington Post.

Common Core Confusion – ASCD Edition is by David B. Cohen.

Race to Self Destruction: A History Lesson for Education Reformers is by Yong Zhao.

5 myths about teachers that are distracting policymakers is by Barnett Berry and appeared in The Washington Post.

I worked with a group of talented inner-city teachers from throughout the United States last year through the Center For Teaching Quality. We created a pretty thorough report, “Transforming School Conditions: Building Bridges to the Education System That Students And Teachers Deserve.” You can read my summary of the report in The Washington Post, as well as finding a link to the entire study.

The American Association of School Administrators has published the text of a speech (and the video) Diane Ravitch gave at their recent conference, and I don’t think you’re going to read or hear a better commentary on education anywhere. You can read the text of her speech here.

Here are links to the video of her speech, dividing into three parts:

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Blinded by Reform is by Professor Mike Rose.

In Performance Evaluations, Subjectivity Is Not Random is from The Shanker Blog.

Matthew Di Carlo at the Shanker Blog wrote How Many Teachers Does It Take To Close An Achievement Gap?

Here’s a great column from The Seattle Times pointing out that small class sizes were important to Bill Gates when he went to school, and are an important reason why he sends his kids to the school they attend.

The Columbia Journalism Review has an excellent article on the issue of newspapers publishing teacher rankings based on test scores.

Richard Rothstein has written a great piece titled Fact-Challenged Policy.

Evaluating New York Teachers, Perhaps the Numbers Do Lie is an article from The New York Times. Check-out the equation above the headline!

Gates’ Measures of Effective Teaching Study: More Value-Added Madness is by Justin Baeder at Ed Week.

The Teaching Experience appeared on the Shanker Blog.

“It makes no sense”: Puzzling over Obama’s State of the Union Speech is the title of an excellent post by scholar Yong Zhao.

The Children Must Play: What the United States could learn from Finland about education reform is a very good article in The New Republic.

Teachers: How do We Propose to Measure Student Outcomes? is a very good post by Anthony Cody at Ed Week.

PISA For Our Time: A Balanced Look is another excellent post from The Shanker blog.

Neither Fair Nor Accurate • Research-Based Reasons Why High-Stakes Tests Should Not Be Used to Evaluate Teachers comes from Rethinking Schools.

Though it appeared in late December of last year, I’m still including Teachers’ Union Leading School Reform? Impossible! by Anthony Cody at Ed Week.

Premises, Presentation And Predetermination In The Gates MET Study appeared at the Shanker Blog.

Why organizational misconduct happens: A look at the Atlanta cheating scandal by Aaron Pallas is clearly the best and most thoughtful piece I’ve seen on the Atlanta cheating scandal.

Though it’s not an article or post, The Daily Show with Diane Ravitch has to be on this list. It was a classic. Jon Stewart opened with what was probably the most insightful, funny, and effective response I have seen to on-going teacher-bashing. Ten minutes later, Diane Ravitch came on and did a fabulous interview. The first two videos are the two segments of the amazing opening piece on schools, and then the third is the interview with Diane Ravitch:

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Crisis in the Dairyland – For Richer and Poorer
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor & Satire Blog The Daily Show on Facebook

Feedback is welcome.

If you found this post useful, you might want to look at the 700 other “The Best…” lists and consider subscribing to this blog for free.

July 26, 2011
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

The Best Articles & Posts On Education Policy In 2011 — So Far

I usually just do a year-end list on this topic and many others, but it gets a little crazy having to review all of my zillion posts at once. So, to make it easier for me — and perhaps, to make it a little more useful to readers — I’m going to start publishing mid-year lists, too. These won’t be ranked, unlike my year-end “The Best…” lists, and just because a site appears on a mid-year list doesn’t guarantee it will be included in an end-of-the-year one (especially since this mid-year list is so long and will have to be trimmed-down). But, at least, I won’t have to review all my year’s posts in December…

You might also be interested in these previous editions:

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 2011 — So Far:

On Treating Students & Educators ‘Like Rats in a Maze’ by Diane Ravitch

Teacher Evaluations through Student Testing by Linda Darling-Hammond

The Service of Democratic Education is a truly exceptional speech Linda Darling-Hammond gave at Teachers College of Columbia University.

On False Dichotomies and Warped Reformy Logic is from School Finance 101.

Five myths about America’s schools is an excellent Washington Post column by Post reporter Paul Farhi.

An excellent post appeared in The Washington Post’s “The Answer Sheet” titled NY regent: Why we shouldn’t link teacher evaluation to test scores.

I wrote Videotaping teachers the right way (not the Gates way) that also was in The Washington Post.

Mathematical Intimidation: Driven by the Data is by John Ewing, president of Math For America. He provides a good critique of value-added assessment.

Larry Cuban has written a very important post titled Teacher Resistance and Reform Failure

Who’s Bashing Teachers and Public Schools and What Can We Do About It? appeared in Rethinking Schools and is by Stan Karp.

What Do Teachers “Produce”? is by Diana Senechal and appeared in the Core Knowledge Blog.

The Test Generation is an article by Dana Goldstein that was published in The American Prospect magazine. It gives an excellent overview of what’s happening around the country, and particularly in Colorado, around high-stakes standardized testing.

The beatings will continue until teacher morale improves appeared in the Christian Science Monitor and is by Walt Gardner.

What I Learned at School is an op-ed in The New York Times. It’s written by novelist Marie Myung-Ok Lee.

Déjà vu all over again: A lesson from the history of school reform is by Mike Rose and appeared in The Washington Post.

Common Core Confusion – ASCD Edition is by David B. Cohen.

Race to Self Destruction: A History Lesson for Education Reformers is by Yong Zhao.

5 myths about teachers that are distracting policymakers is by Barnett Berry and appeared in The Washington Post.

I worked with a group of talented inner-city teachers from throughout the United States last year through the Center For Teaching Quality. We created a pretty thorough report, “Transforming School Conditions: Building Bridges to the Education System That Students And Teachers Deserve.” You can read my summary of the report in The Washington Post, as well as finding a link to the entire study.

The American Association of School Administrators has published the text of a speech (and the video) Diane Ravitch gave at their recent conference, and I don’t think you’re going to read or hear a better commentary on education anywhere. You can read the text of her speech here.

Here are links to the video of her speech, dividing into three parts:

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Blinded by Reform is by Professor Mike Rose.

In Performance Evaluations, Subjectivity Is Not Random is from The Shanker Blog.

Matthew Di Carlo at the Shanker Blog wrote How Many Teachers Does It Take To Close An Achievement Gap?

Here’s a great column from The Seattle Times pointing out that small class sizes were important to Bill Gates when he went to school, and are an important reason why he sends his kids to the school they attend.

The Columbia Journalism Review has an excellent article on the issue of newspapers publishing teacher rankings based on test scores.

Richard Rothstein has written a great piece titled Fact-Challenged Policy.

Evaluating New York Teachers, Perhaps the Numbers Do Lie is an article from The New York Times. Check-out the equation above the headline!

Gates’ Measures of Effective Teaching Study: More Value-Added Madness is by Justin Baeder at Ed Week.

The Teaching Experience appeared on the Shanker Blog.

“It makes no sense”: Puzzling over Obama’s State of the Union Speech is the title of an excellent post by scholar Yong Zhao.

The Children Must Play: What the United States could learn from Finland about education reform is a very good article in The New Republic.

Teachers: How do We Propose to Measure Student Outcomes? is a very good post by Anthony Cody at Ed Week.

PISA For Our Time: A Balanced Look is another excellent post from The Shanker blog.

Neither Fair Nor Accurate • Research-Based Reasons Why High-Stakes Tests Should Not Be Used to Evaluate Teachers comes from Rethinking Schools.

Though it appeared in late December of last year, I’m still including Teachers’ Union Leading School Reform? Impossible! by Anthony Cody at Ed Week.

Premises, Presentation And Predetermination In The Gates MET Study appeared at the Shanker Blog.

Why organizational misconduct happens: A look at the Atlanta cheating scandal by Aaron Pallas is clearly the best and most thoughtful piece I’ve seen on the Atlanta cheating scandal.

Though it’s not an article or post, The Daily Show with Diane Ravitch has to be on this list. It was a classic. Jon Stewart opened with what was probably the most insightful, funny, and effective response I have seen to on-going teacher-bashing. Ten minutes later, Diane Ravitch came on and did a fabulous interview. The first two videos are the two segments of the amazing opening piece on schools, and then the third is the interview with Diane Ravitch:

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Crisis in the Dairyland – For Richer and Poorer
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor & Satire Blog The Daily Show on Facebook

Feedback is welcome.

If you found this post useful, you might want to look at the 700 other “The Best…” lists and consider subscribing to this blog for free.

June 13, 2011
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

These Are Very Important Posts, Articles & Reports On School Reform Issues

May 22, 2011
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

“Closing the Poverty Gap: The Way Forward for Education Reform”

Closing the Poverty Gap: The Way Forward for Education Reform is the title of guest column in Ed Week by Massachusetts Secretary of Education Paul Reville.

After citing some pretty irrefutable data documenting the role of poverty in student achievement, here are some excerpts from what he writes:

Some want to make the absurd argument that the reason low-income youngsters do poorly is that, mysteriously, all the incompetency in our education systems has coincidentally aggregated around low income students. In this view, all we need to do is scrub the system of incompetency and all will be well. An equally absurd variant on this theme is that poor performance in low-income districts is a function of, again coincidental, misalignment between state standards and local curriculum. Get these in line and all will be fine say the ideologues. Others want to banish any discussion of socio-economic status (SES) and educational performance for fear that it suggests that SES is destiny. It does not. We all know of notable individual exceptions to this rule, but they are exceptions. The averages tell the story….

It is now blatantly apparent to me and other education activists, ranging form Geoffrey Canada to Richard Rothstein to Linda Darling-Hammond, that the strategy of instructional improvement will not, on average, enable us to overcome the barriers to student learning posed by the conditions of poverty.

As others have argued, we need “a broader, bolder” approach, one that meets every child where he or she is and gives to each one the quality and quantity of support and instruction needed to attain the standards. Those of us who have the privileges of affluence know how to do this at scale with our children. We wrap services and supports around these children from the pre-natal period through their twenties. We know how to do it, but do we have the will to do it for “other people’s children”? And do we know how to institutionalize the necessary services and supports that are best provided through families?

I’d strongly encourage you to read the entire column.

I’m adding it to The Best Places To Learn What Impact A Teacher & Outside Factors Have On Student Achievement.

April 27, 2011
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

The Best Resources For Learning About The “Achievement Gap”

'Gaps in rocks 2, Devon, 2007' photo (c) 2007, John Davey - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

A piece at the Huffington Post today titled “A Test: Why Was the Black-White Gap Closing When It was Closing?” reminded me of a post I wrote awhile back. Its headline was Surprise, Surprise! Study Finds Achievement Gap Progress Stops In Eighties (When Poverty Rates Begin To Rise). Here’s an excerpt from that post:

The Washington Post has a report on a new study from The Educational Testing Service.

It finds that:

“…there was a steady narrowing of the achievement gap from the 1970s until the late 1980s. Scores essentially remained the same since then.”

That’s about the same time the poverty rate in the U.S. began to rise after a steady period of getting lower.

Here’s another quote from the article from the study’s author:

Restarting progress in closing the achievement gap must be addressed on multiple levels, Coley said.

“Entire neighborhoods may have to be uplifted in terms of their economic capital, school quality, safety and health structures,” he said.

Reading the Huffington Post piece, and re-reading my own post, prompted me to put together this “The Best…” list. It’s closely connected to The Best Places To Learn What Impact A Teacher & Outside Factors Have On Student Achievement. The primary difference here is that I’ve only included articles and posts that very explicitly address the “achievement gap.”

Here are my choices for The Best Resources For Learning About The “Achievement Gap” (in addition to the two resources I mentioned earlier):

Eliminating the Achievement Gap Is Educational Alchemy is by Walt Gardner at Education Week.

Reforms That Could Help Narrow The Achievement Gap by Richard Rothstein.

How Can We Close The Achievement Gap? is from The National Journal and has twenty-nine responders, including Richard Rothstein.

Student Mobility is a related post I’ve written.

The many causes of the achievement gap is by Richard Rothstein and comes from The Harvard Education Letter.

Can Educators Close The Achievement Gap? is an interview with Rothstein and Kati Haycock.

Why the Black-White Gap Was Closing When It Was is by James Gee and appeared in The Huffington Post.

The Black-White Achievement Gap: When Progress Stopped is a report from The Educational Testing Service.

Leading Educators Call for a New Direction for Education Reform, Focused on the Opportunity Gap is from The National Education Policy Center.

The Widening Income Achievement Gap is by Sean Reardon (you might remember that he wrote an excellent column in The New York Times a similar topic). His EL piece provides some great data tracing the gap’s history, though I think he misses some important points in his suggested solutions.

Here’s a link to a nice interactive infographic from GOOD on the “opportunity gap.”


Achievement Gaps Shrunk Faster in the 70s and 80s than Over the Past Decade
is by Dana Goldstein

New US Dept. of Ed Finds That “Less Effective Teaching” Responsible For 2-4 Percent Of Achievement Gap

Feedback on this topic are welcome!

If you found this post useful, you might want to look at 660 previous “The Best…” lists and also consider subscribing to this blog for free.

March 23, 2011
by Larry Ferlazzo
2 Comments

The Best Articles Providing An “Overall” Perspective On Education Policy

'The Bigger Picture' photo (c) 2008, F Delventhal - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

I have many “The Best…” lists on specific education policy and school reform issues, and I will soon be creating a compilation of them all.

However, I thought it would also be useful to start identifying pieces that do a good job of “putting it all together.” Towards that end, I’ve identified a small number to start off with and hope that others can suggest more.

Here are my choices for The Best Articles Providing An “Overall” Perspective On Education Policy:

As I wrote yesterday, The American Association of School Administrators has published the text of a speech (and the video) Diane Ravitch gave at their recent conference, and I don’t think you’re going to read or hear a better commentary on education anywhere.

You can read the text of her speech here.

Here are links to the video of her speech, dividing into three parts:

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Another article I like is Blinded by Reform by Professor Mike Rose.

Leaving “No Child Left Behind” Behind is a few years old, but Richard Rothstein’s points are still dead-on.

5 myths about teachers that are distracting policymakers is by Barnett Berry and appeared in The Washington Post.

Cathie Black and the privatisation of education comes from The Guardian.

The Test Generation is an article by Dana Goldstein that was just published in The American Prospect magazine.

Who’s Bashing Teachers and Public Schools and What Can We Do About It? appeared in Rethinking Schools and is by Stan Karp. It’s an edited version of a talk Stan gave that I previously posted about.

Five myths about America’s schools is an excellent Washington Post column by Post reporter Paul Farhi.

The Service of Democratic Education is a truly exceptional speech Linda Darling-Hammond gave at Teachers College of Columbia University. Here’s an excerpt:

These new scientific managers, like those of a century ago, prefer teachers with little training—who will come and go quickly, without costing much money, without vesting in the pension system and without raising many questions about an increasingly prescriptive system of testing and teaching that lines the pockets of private entrepreneurs (who provide teacher-proofed materials deemed necessary, by the way, in part because there are so many underprepared novices who leave before they learn to teach). Curriculum mandates and pacing guides that would “choke a horse,” as one teacher put it, threaten to replace the opportunities for teachable moments that expert teachers know how to create with their students.

The new scientific managers, like the Franklin Bobbitts before them, like to rank and sort students, teachers and schools—rewarding those at the top and punishing those at the bottom, something that the highest-achieving countries not only don’t do but often forbid. The present-day Bobbitts would create “efficiencies” by firing teachers and closing schools, while issuing multimillion-dollar contracts for testing and data systems to create more graphs, charts and report cards on which to rank and sort… well, just about everything.

Her speech will certainly be on “The Best..” list of educational policy articles for this year. It provides some fascinating historical background, including much I didn’t know.

Steve Brill’s Report Card on School Reform is a New York Times book review of Brill’s recent book. I’m adding it, with some minor reservations (I’m not as enthralled with Doug Lemov’s teaching techniques as the reviewer says she is) to this list.

American Schools in Crisis is by Diane Ravitch and appeared in The Saturday Evening Post.


School ‘Reform’: A Failing Grade
is by Diane Ravitch.

The bait and switch of school “reform” is from Salon.

‘Education is about preparing young people to make the world better than it is’ is by Pedro Noguera.

Roxanna Elden has hit another homerun with her post “Five School Reform Sound Bites That Hurt Teacher Buy-In.”

Changing the Poisonous Narrative:A Conversation with Diane Ravitch comes from ASCD’s Educational Leadership.

Diane Ravitch gave a great speech at the National Opportunity to Learn Summit.

Why Is Congress Redlining Our Schools? is by Linda Darling-Hammond.

‘Reformers’ playbook on failing schools fails a fact check is by Richard Rothstein.

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

The Coming Revolution in Public Education is from The Atlantic.

Failing the Test is by David Kirp at Slate.

Quote Of The Day: Deborah Meier On Being Part Of The Solution

Five basic lessons on public education (short and long versions) is from The Washington Post.

Messages About Public Education That Don’t Sell Well (And Ones That Will) is by Jeff Bryant.

The world’s most famous teacher blasts school reform is from the Washington Post.

Quote Of The Day: “Educators On What Standardized Testing Means”

Who Writes the Songs? is a very good post by John Merrow that I think gives a very good critique of what is being done in the name of “school reform.” His suggested next step — “peace talks” between opposing groups — sounds a little naive (see my Washington Post piece, Why we can’t all get along over school reform, along with Anthony Cody’s comment on Merrow’s post for a somewhat similar perspective), but the rest of it hits the mark.

Ten Reform Claims That Teachers Should Know How to Challenge is by Jack Schneider at Ed Week.

Teachers And Education Reform, On A Need To Know Basis is from The Shanker Blog.

Pedro Noguera — Reformers Using “Assessment As A Weapon”

Additional suggestions are welcome. I’m sure there are some great articles out there that I just don’t know about.

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

You might also want to explore the over 600 other “The Best…” lists I’ve compiled.

March 12, 2011
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

Today’s “Round-Up” Of Good School Reform Articles & Posts

Here are a few good articles and posts on school reform issues that I’ve read over the past couple of days:

Nelson Lichtenstein: ‘A governor like Walker is completely correct that it’s in his self-interest to ignore public opinion.’ comes from Ezra Klein’s Washington Post column. I’m adding the link to The Best Resources For Learning About Attacks On Teachers & Other Public Sector Workers In Wisconsin.

Fact-Challenged Policy is by Richard Rothstein, and is a longer version of a previous piece of his I’ve shared. I’m adding the link to The Best Posts Responding To Bill Gates’ Appallingly Clueless Op-Ed Piece.

The Education of Diane Ravitch is a nice question and answer session with Diane Ravitch. It appeared in Mother Jones.

Gates spends millions to sway public on ed reform is by Valerie Strauss at The Washington Post. I’m adding the link to The Best Resources For Learning About The Role Of Private Foundations In Education Policy.

March 8, 2011
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

Today’s School Reform Article, Video & Post “Round-Up”

Again, today, there have been a number of very useful articles, videos and blog posts related to school reform issues. They include (a few are older than today, but I’ve just learned about them):

* Richard Rothstein has written a great piece titled Fact-Challenged Policy. It challenges claims made recently by Bill Gates. I’m adding it to The Best Posts Responding To Bill Gates’ Appallingly Clueless Op-Ed Piece.

* Study: $75M teacher pay initiative did not improve achievement is a new report on the failed use of teacher merit pay in New York City. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning Why Teacher Merit Pay Is A Bad Idea.

* Here’s an MSNBC video of Leonie Haimson of Class Size Matters explaining why smaller classes are the key to success.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

I’m adding this video to The Best Resources For Learning About How Class Size Does Matter.

* Evaluating New York Teachers, Perhaps the Numbers Do Lie is an article from The New York Times. Check-out the equation above the headline! I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About The “Value-Added” Approach Towards Teacher Evaluation.

* Think Again: Education: Relax, America. Chinese math whizzes and Indian engineers aren’t stealing your kids’ future is from Foreign Policy Magazine. I’m adding it to The Best Sites For Getting Some Perspective On International Test Comparison Demagoguery.

* We Must Change the Narrative About Public Education is very good piece by Diane Ravitch at Edutopia.

* Gates’ Measures of Effective Teaching Study: More Value-Added Madness is by Justin Baeder at Ed Week. I”m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About The “Value-Added” Approach Towards Teacher Evaluation.

March 6, 2011
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

A “Round-Up” Of Recent Posts, Videos & Articles On School Reform & Union Issues

There have been quite a few good and useful posts and articles on school reform issues over the past few days. Here they are, along with links to “The Best…” lists I’m adding them to:

* There have been some good posts challenging comments by some “school reformers” that the experience of having many years in the classroom is over-rated. They say that after the first few years, it has no impact on student achievement. Here are some posts rebutting that claim:

The Teaching Experience at the Shanker Blog

Teaching experience matters! is from NYC Public School Parents

Firing Teachers with Due Process is a good piece from Forbes that rebuts a different claim — that it takes many years to get rid of a bad teacher.

I’m adding those posts to The Best Articles For Helping To Understand Both Why Teacher Tenure Is Important & The Reasons Behind Seniority-Based Layoffs.

* I’m embedding this “must-watch” thirty minute video of a talk by one of my favorite education writers and researchers, Richard Rothstein. Here’s how the Education Testing Service describes it:

Rothstein, a former New York Times national education columnist, discusses the false narrative about public education — especially urban schools — that currently exists. Rothstein maintains that many education reform proposals, especially those that focus on teacher accountability, are based on a misinterpretation and misuse of data. He stresses the direct correlation between poverty and educational failure.

Rothstein makes many important points but, because of some of the key ones he makes, I’m adding the video to The Best Places To Learn What Impact A Teacher & Outside Factors Have On Student Achievement.

* Teach for America 20th Anniversary Alumni Summit: Conclusions, Questions, and other Ruminations comes from Education Notes Online, and I’m adding it to The Best Posts & Articles Raising Concerns About Teach For America.

* The relationship between education spending and test scores is an important piece that I’m adding to The Best Sites For Learning That Money Does Matter For Schools.

* The “three great teachers in a row” myth is a piece by Valerie Strauss at The Washington Post. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About The “Value-Added” Approach Towards Teacher Evaluation.

* Why politicians should spend time at school is another piece from Valerie Strauss’ blog. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About Effective Student & Teacher Assessments.

* Here are some useful pieces related to what’s going on in Wisconsin, and that I’m adding to The Best Resources For Learning About Attacks On Teachers & Other Public Sector Workers In Wisconsin:

Unions Hope States’ Attacks Nurture a Comeback comes from The New York Times.

Both Sides Begin Efforts for Recalls in Wisconsin is also from The New York Times.

How To Make A Misleading Public/Private Earnings Gap Disappear is from The Shanker Blog.

The Budget: Who’s Really to Blame? is a cartoon from The Atlantic.

March 3, 2011
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

The Best Posts Responding To Bill Gates’ Appallingly Clueless Op-Ed Piece

Readers of this blog are familiar with the op-ed piece that Bill Gates wrote for the Washington Post this week where he said class size should be increased that teachers haven’t gotten any better over the years (unlike other professions). Believe me, those are just the tip of the iceberg. He also made a similar presentation to a meeting of U.S. Governors this week.

There have been a number of excellent responses to Gates over the past twenty-four hours from….educators.

Here are my choices for The Best Posts Responding To Bill Gates’ Appallingly Clueless Op-Ed Piece:

Though I wouldn’t say mine are the best of the bunch, you might want to check out The Arrogance Of Bill Gates — Part Three and A Perfect Cartoon For Bill Gates.

Who Elected Bill Gates? is from Gary Stager.

Smart Guy (Gates) makes my list of “Dumbest Stuff I’ve Ever Read!” is from School Finance 101.

Can We Improve Education By Increasing Class Size? comes from GOOD.

An Open Letter to Bill Gates: Higher Class Sizes will Drive Teachers Out by Anthony Cody at Ed Week.

Expert Witness comes from Nancy Flanagan at Ed Week.

A partial response to Bill Gates’ op ed about teachers is by Ken Bernstein.

The Bill Gates problem in school reform is by Paul Thomas.

The Increasingly Strange Logic of Bill Gates is by Justin Baeder at Ed Week.

Richard Rothstein has written a great piece titled Fact-Challenged Policy.

Here’s a great column from The Seattle Times pointing out that small class sizes were important to Bill Gates when he went to school, and are an important reason why he sends his kids to the school they attend.

Fact-Challenged Policy is by Richard Rothstein, and is a longer version of a previous piece of his I’ve shared.

Wealthy Amateur Advises Decision-makers about Class Size is by Larry Cuban.

Larry Cuban has written a very important post titled Teacher Resistance and Reform Failure (the title of my post is a quote from it). He makes a number of key points refuting charges that some school reformer make about many of us being “defenders of the status quo.” In addition, because he points out how teachers have indeed changed their pedagogy over the years, it’s a good response to Bill Gates’ charge that teaching hasn’t changed in a hundred years. Because of that, I’m adding it here.

Additional suggestions are 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 over 600 other “The Best…” lists I’ve compiled.

February 21, 2011
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

The Best Resources For Learning Why School Vouchers Are A Bad Idea

School vouchers that would allow parents pay private school tuition with public money has been in the news over the past week — both in Washington, D.C. and in Colorado.

Given these events, I thought it would be useful to readers and to me to bring together some resources on the issue. I’ve also included more general articles on the idea of school “choice.”

I hope others will provide additional suggestions.

Here are my choices for The Best Resources For Learning Why School Vouchers Are A Bad Idea:

Rethinking Schools has an impressive collection of articles titled Struggle Against Vouchers Continues in Milwaukee and Across Nation.

Walt Gardner at Ed Week has two good posts. One it titled Eternal Vouchers and the other is When School Reformers Disagree.

Grasping At Straws was written by Liam Goldrick.

Lessons—Better Than a Voucher, a Ticket to Suburbia is by Richard Rothstein.

Choice schools not outperforming MPS is the headline of a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article.

Vouchers making a comeback, but why? is by Diane Ravitch, and it appeared in The Washington Post.

Report: How voucher landscape is widening comes from Valerie Strauss at The Washington Post.

The ugly truth about “school choice” is from Salon.

The Illusions of School Choice is by Renee Moore.

What Can Voucher Fans Learn from the Space X Mission? is by Bill Ferriter.

Key questions for Democrats on ‘school choice’ is from The Washington Post.

With Vouchers, States Shift Aid for Schools to Families is from The New York Times.

Quote Of The Day: Instead Of Vouchers…..

The doubts of a school choice supporter is by Sam Chaltain.

The hype and reality of ‘school choice’ is by Valerie Strauss.

8 Reasons Why School Vouchers Are A Very Bad Idea is from The AFT.

Obama smacks Bill O’Reilly on school vouchers is from Valerie Strauss.

Additional suggestions are welcome.

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

You might also want to explore the over 600 other “The Best…” lists I’ve compiled.

January 15, 2011
by Larry Ferlazzo
7 Comments

The Best Resources For Learning Why Teacher Merit Pay Is A Bad Idea

My bias is betrayed in the title of this post. Instead of providing a detailed explanation here about my I think merit pay is a bad idea, I think I’ll leave it to those who are better versed and more articulate to to make the case.

Here are my choices for The Best Resources For Learning Why Teacher Merit Pay Is A Bad Idea:

Late last year, the most extensive study ever conducted on merit pay was unveiled in Tennessee, and showed it didn’t work. I’ll start off with several resources and analyses of that study:

Three Questions For Those Who Dismiss The Nashville Merit Pay Study comes from Matthew Di Carlo at the Shanker blog.

Persistently Low-Performing Incentives also comes from the Shanker blog. Here, Matthew also examines other merit pay studies in addition to the one in Tennessee.

The long, failed history of merit pay and how the Ed Department ignores it is a piece in the Washington Post where Diane Ravitch discusses this new study, as well as others.

The research question that wasn’t asked comes from Bruce Baker.

You can access the actual Tennessee study here.

Here are additional resources not related to the Nashville study:

What’s Wrong With Merit Pay is by Diana Ravitch.

Another report was published last year by the Education Commission of the States examining several studies on merit pay. How do they analyze them?

Each of the studies of the four pay-for-performance systems found no conclusive
evidence to link the new merit pay system with higher student achievement.

Merit Pay Misfires is by Al Ramirez and appeared in Educational Leadership.

Teachers as Performers and Pay-4-Performance Plans was written by Larry Cuban.

Superintendents oppose governor on teacher pay is a newspaper article from New Jersey.

Spend Money Like It Matters was written by Frederick Hess and appeared in Educational Leadership.

Attention To Pay is another good post from The Shanker blog.

Merit Pay: A Perspective From the Classroom is also worth a look.

Study: $75M teacher pay initiative did not improve achievement is a report on the failed use of teacher merit pay in New York City.

The Folly of Merit Pay is by Alfie Kohn.

Merit Pay Is Not Merited is by Walt Gardner at Ed Week.

Think tank: Overpaying staff can reap rewards for businesses is by Daniel Pink.

Thoughts on the Failure of Merit Pay is by Diane Ravitch.

No merit in merit pay for teachers is by Walt Gardner and appeared in the Guardian

Very Useful Articles On Motivation

Performance Anxiety is from The Drucker Institute.

Merit Pay: Pay teachers enough so that money is no longer an issue is by Mel Riddile. Thanks to David B. Cohen for the tip.

Dan Ariely On Pay For Performance

Holding Accountability To Account is a report by Richard Rothstein that was written in 2008, but it’s new to me.

The New York City Department of Education recently abandoned a three year teacher performance bonus program that cost $56 million. The New York Times reports:

The decision was made in light of a study that found the bonuses had no positive effect on either student performance or teachers’ attitudes toward their jobs.

The study’s authors said:

Teachers also reported that improving as teachers and seeing their students learn were bigger motivators than a bonus…

Here’s one more excerpt from the article:

The results add to a growing body of evidence nationally that so-called pay-for-performance bonuses for teachers that consist only of financial incentives have no effect on student achievement, the researchers wrote.

Bob Sutton has written a post about the study, titled New York City Halts Teacher Bonus Program: Another Blow to Evidence-Resistant Ideology that is a must-read, and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has published a column on it, too.

Zombie Postmortem: Why Merit Pay Died in NYC, and Why It’ll Rise Again (and Again, and Again…) is by Justin Baeder at Ed Week.

Merit Pay: The End Of Innocence? is from The Shanker Blog.

Will Rahm Emanuel’s Merit-pay System Work Where Others Haven’t? is by Freakonomics.

The Debate over Teacher Merit Pay: A Freakonomics Quorum has some very thoughtful responses.

“Idaho schools tie merit pay to parent involvement” is a post I wrote about an incredibly idiotic plan.

Variable pay-for-performance is a folly is a very interesting analysis from economists.

What Are Achievement Gains Worth — To Teachers? is an analysis of a failed New York merit pay scheme.

The Latest Wrinkle About Merit Pay for Teachers is by Walt Gardner at Education Week.

Stop Tying Pay to Performance:The evidence is overwhelming: It doesn’t work. is from The Harvard Business Review.

Merit pay, Merit pay, Merit pay… is from The Daily Kos and I’m also adding it to the same list.

Beyond Anecdotes: The Evidence About Financial Incentives And Teacher Retention is from The Shanker Blog.

As teacher merit pay spreads, one noted voice cries, ‘It doesn’t work’ is from The Washington Post.

Eight brief points about “merit pay” for teachers is by Daniel Pink.

The Trouble With Pay for Performance is from Education Week.

“Merit pay systems in the private sector have been found to hurt job performance”

Teachers’ performance pay ‘does not raise standards’ is from The BBC.

The Paradox Of Performance Pay is from Farnam Street.

Offering Financial Incentives ““may hinder the empathic processes needed to succeed” in “helping professions”

Will Pay For Performance Backfire? Insights From Behavioral Economics is by Steffie Woolhandler and Dan Ariely.

Promoting Quality Teaching: New Policy Report from Accomplished California Teachers has just been published. Here’s an excerpt from its description:

Currently, teacher pay is based primarily on years of service and continuing education, including advanced degrees. In recent years, pay-for-performance or merit-pay systems have been tried around the country—systems in which teachers are rewarded for student achievement, with achievement usually being measured by test scores.

The ACT report argues that neither system succeeds. And it offers a framework for professional growth and compensation that creates incentives for well-qualified individuals to enter the profession, continue to grow, and to what they know so that the entire enterprise of education improves. This report can be used to inform policy at the state and district level to create thoughtful, research-based compensation systems that actually improve teaching.

What Motivates Teachers: It’s More Than Money is from Education Week.

Incentive Pay Programs Do Not Affect Teacher Motivation or Reported Practices is a report on three studies.

Need More Evidence About The Dangers Of Extrinsic Rewards? Here It Is From The Harvard Business Review

How Many Studies Must A Man Do Before He Gives Up On Trying To Prove Extrinsic Motivation Works?

The Institute Of Education Sciences has announced that out of three approved studies of a New York performance pay program, one showed across the board negative effects on student achievement; another showed negative effects in some areas and no effect in others; and a third one showed no effect at all (thanks to Morgan Polikoff).

The first study was conducted by Roland Fryer, who has turned into Captain Ahab going after the Moby Dick of using pay to increase student achievement.

Must-Read Column By Joseph Stiglitz In NY Times: “In No One We Trust”

Teachers in Lee, MA, Return Merit Pay is from Diane Ravitch’s blog.

Performance pay for teachers: what is the true cost? is from The Guardian.

Pay-for-Performance for CEOs and Teachers is by Larry Cuban.

Additional suggestions are 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 nearly 600 other “The Best…” lists I’ve compiled.

January 14, 2011
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

New Study Critical of “Value-Added” Approach Towards Teacher Evaluation

I was critical of last month’s Gate Foundation report on supporting the value-added approach towards teacher evaluation, and I wasn’t the only one.

Now, today, well-regarded professor and economist Jess Rothstein has come-out with a thorough, and critical, analysis of that same report.

In addition to reviewing his report (or instead of), you could read summaries of it here:

Premises, Presentation And Predetermination In The Gates MET Study at the Shanker Blog.

New analysis challenges Gates study on value-added measures by Valerie Strauss at The Washington Post.

How About a Measures of Effective Reporting Project? by Sabrina Stevens Shupe at The Huffington Post.

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

January 9, 2011
by Larry Ferlazzo
4 Comments

The Best Resources For Learning About The Role Of Private Foundations In Education Policy

'The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation' photo (c) 2012, Nam-ho Park - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Several major foundations, including Gates and Walton, are playing an increasing large role in education policy. I thought that readers might find a short list of related resources useful, and I would appreciate additional suggestions.

Here are my choices for The Best Resources For Learning About The Role Of Private Foundations In Education Policy:

Got Dough? Public School Reform in the Age of Venture Philanthropy is an important article in Dissent magazine.

Confronting Systemic Inequity in Education: High Impact Strategies for Philanthropy is the title of a major new report from the National Committee On Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP).

The New York Times ran a series of guest columns titled “Can $100 Million Change Newark’s Schools?” focusing on the recent donation to Newark schools by the founder of Facebook. Richard Rothstein is part of the Times’ series, and his post is titled When Billionaires’ Goals Do Harm. That piece (and several others in the series) is worth a look.

Schools Matter has a short excerpt from a Diane Ravitch interview where she comments on the role of foundations. Chapter Ten of Diane’s book, The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education, provides more extensive details.

I’ve written two pieces for The Huffington Post on this topic:

Private Foundations Have A Place (And Have To Be Kept In Their Place)

Gates Foundation Minimizing Great Tools For Helping Teachers Improve Their Craft

Rethinking Schools has a good article on the funders behind the “Waiting For Superman” movie.

How the Billionaire boys Club is running – and ruining – education is by Ken Bernstein.

Private Foundations, English Language Learners & My Continued Skepticism is another one of my posts.

Gates spends millions to sway public on ed reform is by Valerie Strauss at The Washington Post

The most dangerous man in America is by Leonie Haimson.

Free-Market Think Tanks and the Marketing of Education Policy is by Kevin Welner and appeared in Dissent.

Education Reform Philanthropy Has Changed Radically Over the Past Decade is by Dana Goldstein.

Behind Grass-Roots School Advocacy, Bill Gates is the headline of a newspaper article in the New York Times.

Creating Educational Monocultures is by John Thompson.

Shortcuts, School Reform & Private Foundations

Billionaire Education Policy is from The Education Optimists.

What Happens When Teacher Voices Depend on Foundations’ Choices? is by Anthony Cody at Ed Week.

Broad Foundation’splan to expand influence in school reform is from The Washington Post.

On school reform: Broad’s misleading response to critics is by Ken Libby and Stan Karp.

I Wish Everyone Connected To A Private Foundation Would Read This Article, But I Suspect My Wish Will Go Unfulfilled

How school reform became the cause célèbre of billionaires is from The Washington Post.

What Are Foundations For? is by Bob Reich.

‘Strategic Philanthropy’ Shifts Too Much Power to Donors is by Pablo Eisenberg.

Quote Of The Day: “The problem with philanthropy”

Bill Gates: ‘It would be great if our education stuff worked but…’ is from The Washington Post.

Plutocrats at Work: How Big Philanthropy Undermines Democracy is from Dissent.

The influence of new philanthropy on democracy is from The Washington Post.

Teacher ‘Voice’ Amplified by Series of Gates Grants is from Education Week.

Gates Foundation Places Big Bet on Teacher Agenda is from Education Week.

Follow the Money: Gates Giving for Its Teacher Agenda is an infographic from Education Week.

‘Effective Teaching’ Study Seen as Influential, and Faulty is from Education Week.

Video (& Comments): Shanker Institute Conference On Foundations & Education

SXSWEdu: Gates Foundation vs. Microsoft Education: What’s the difference? is from The Hechinger Report.

How to Criticize “Big Philanthropy” Effectively is by Joanne Barkan.

A Walmart Fortune, Spreading Charter Schools is from The New York Times.

What Will It Take to Educate the Gates Foundation? is by Anthony Cody.

Aftermath: My Note to the Gates Foundation is by Rick Hess and John Thompson.

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.

Mark Zuckerberg has contributed a new bunch of money to schools — this time in California — but who knows if he has learned anything from his Newark debacle (see The Best Posts & Articles For Learning About Newark’s $100 Million From Facebook ). Here are some posts/articles on his recent contribution:

Zuckerberg’s philanthropy proves school solutions aren’t easy is from The San Francisco Chronicle.

Mark Zuckerberg is giving $120 million to Bay Area schools (after his last education reform effort didn’t go so well) is from The Washington Post.

Zuckerberg, Wife Gift $120M to CA Schools is from The Associated Press.

John Thompson offers some wise advice to him.

Zuckerberg schools donation is a gift but at what price? appeared in The San Francisco Chronicle.

How Bill Gates pulled off the swift Common Core revolution is from The Washington Post.

Philanthropic Advocacy for School Reforms is by Larry Cuban.

A Mantra for K-12 Philanthropy: First, Do No Harm is by Rick Hess and appeared in Education Week. It’s a little odd, and a bit internally inconsistent, but I’m still adding it to this list.

Koch Heads: How The Koch Brothers Are Buying Their Way Into The Minds Of Public School Students is from The Huffington Post.

Additional suggestions are 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 nearly 600 other “The Best…” lists I’ve compiled.

December 28, 2010
by Larry Ferlazzo
2 Comments

The Best Places To Learn What Impact A Teacher & Outside Factors Have On Student Achievement

'Lockland High School, entrance 10' photo (c) 2007, Paul Fisher - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

It’s not uncommon to hear someone inaccurately state that the teacher has the biggest influence on student achievement — period. Of course, the true statement is that — of the in-school factors — teachers have the biggest influence. On top of that, research has shown that over two-thirds of the factors that influence student achievement occur out of school.

That’s not to say that we shouldn’t continually look at ways to help teachers become better. It does mean that we should also figure out ways to change the outside factors, too — lack of affordable housing, health care, safety. That is one of the main messages of my book, Building Parent Engagement In Schools, which offers practical suggestions on how schools can work with parents on these issues. It also means that placing all the blame on teachers, which some “school reformers” are prone to do, is disingenuous.

In addition to my book, I thought I’d bring together links to other resources that provide research (and analyze it) about this topic. Feel free to offer additional suggestions.

Here are my choices for The Best Places To Learn What Impact A Teacher (& Outside Factors) Have On Student Achievement:

How To Fix Our Schools by Richard Rothstein

Teachers Matter, But So Do Words from the Shanker blog (thanks to Alexander Russo for the tip)

The Family: America’s Smallest School from The Educational Testing Service

I’m embedding this very good thirty minute video of a talk by one of my favorite education writers and researchers, Richard Rothstein. Here’s how the Education Testing Service describes it:

Rothstein, a former New York Times national education columnist, discusses the false narrative about public education — especially urban schools — that currently exists. Rothstein maintains that many education reform proposals, especially those that focus on teacher accountability, are based on a misinterpretation and misuse of data. He stresses the direct correlation between poverty and educational failure.

Rothstein makes many important points but, because of some of the key ones he makes, I’m adding the video to this list.

Experiences of poverty and educational disadvantage is the title of a good report from the Rowntree Foundation

Poverty and Potential: Out-of-School Factors and School Success is from The National Educational Policy Center.

Thanks to Paul Thomas for the tips on the last two links.

A Big Fish In A Small Causal Pond is by Matthew Di Carlo at the Shanker Blog.

Joe Nocera at The New York Times takes on school reformers in a column:

…school reform won’t fix everything. Though some poor students will succeed, others will fail. Demonizing teachers for the failures of poor students, and pretending that reforming the schools is all that is needed, as the reformers tend to do, is both misguided and counterproductive.

Over the long term, fixing our schools is going to involve a lot more than, well, just fixing our schools. In the short term, however, the reform movement could use something else: a dose of humility about what it can accomplish — and what it can’t.

Is Poverty the Key Factor in Student Outcomes? is from The Texas Observer.

Says Who? Lots of Folks, Actually… is by Robert Pondiscio. He’s gathered quite a few quotes from school reformers on the topic of the role of poverty and the role of teachers. I’m adding it to The Best Places To Learn What Impact A Teacher & Outside Factors Have On Student Achievement. He also raises some questions about a post written by Nancy Flanagan. You can find her response in the comments section there and in her post here.

Is Poverty the Key Factor in Student Outcomes? is an article and video from The Texas Tribune.

Closing the Poverty Gap: The Way Forward for Education Reform is the title of guest column in Ed Week by Massachusetts Secretary of Education Paul Reville.

After citing some pretty irrefutable data documenting the role of poverty in student achievement, here are some excerpts from what he writes:

Some want to make the absurd argument that the reason low-income youngsters do poorly is that, mysteriously, all the incompetency in our education systems has coincidentally aggregated around low income students. In this view, all we need to do is scrub the system of incompetency and all will be well. An equally absurd variant on this theme is that poor performance in low-income districts is a function of, again coincidental, misalignment between state standards and local curriculum. Get these in line and all will be fine say the ideologues. Others want to banish any discussion of socio-economic status (SES) and educational performance for fear that it suggests that SES is destiny. It does not. We all know of notable individual exceptions to this rule, but they are exceptions. The averages tell the story….

It is now blatantly apparent to me and other education activists, ranging form Geoffrey Canada to Richard Rothstein to Linda Darling-Hammond, that the strategy of instructional improvement will not, on average, enable us to overcome the barriers to student learning posed by the conditions of poverty.

As others have argued, we need “a broader, bolder” approach, one that meets every child where he or she is and gives to each one the quality and quantity of support and instruction needed to attain the standards. Those of us who have the privileges of affluence know how to do this at scale with our children. We wrap services and supports around these children from the pre-natal period through their twenties. We know how to do it, but do we have the will to do it for “other people’s children”? And do we know how to institutionalize the necessary services and supports that are best provided through families?

Why Attention Will Return to Non-School Factors is a guest commentary in Ed Week.

Bolder, Broader Action: Strategies for Closing the Poverty Gap is by Paul Reville.

We need to fix the economy to fix education was written by David Sirota and appeared in Salon.

The hard bigotry of low expectations and low priorities is by Gary Ravani at The Thoughts on Public Education blog.

Can Teachers Alone Overcome Poverty? Steven Brill Thinks So is by Dana Goldstein.

What No School Can Do is a ten year old article recently recommended by Walt Gardner at Ed Week.

Public education’s biggest problem gets worse is by Valerie Strauss at The Washington Post.

Why school reform can’t ignore poverty’s toll appeared in Valerie Strauss’ blog at the Washington Post.

NCLB bill: The problem with ‘continuous improvement’ is by Richard Rothstein.

A broader and bolder approach uses education to break the cycle of poverty is by Pedro Noguera.

In Which I Cite My Sources in an Attempt to Deflate the Hot Air from the Teacher Quality Debate is by Dana Goldstein.

Education and Poverty:Confronting the Evidence is by Helen F. Ladd.

Why Are the Rich So Interested in Public-School Reform? is by Judith Warner at TIME.

Class Matters. Why Won’t We Admit It? is an op ed in The New York Times about poverty’s effect on our students. Here’s how it ends:

Yes, we need to make sure that all children, and particularly disadvantaged children, have access to good schools, as defined by the quality of teachers and principals and of internal policies and practices.

But let’s not pretend that family background does not matter and can be overlooked. Let’s agree that we know a lot about how to address the ways in which poverty undermines student learning. Whether we choose to face up to that reality is ultimately a moral question.

Student Achievement, Poverty and “Toxic Stress” is by Robert Pondiscio.

Can Schools Solve Societal Problems? is from Learning First.

How to predict a student’s SAT score: Look at the parents’ tax return is from Daniel Pink.

Why Does Family Wealth Affect Learning? is by Dan Willingham.

A new poverty-doesn’t-really-matter-much argument is by Valerie Strauss at the Washington Post.

Cartoon: Burden – Or Excuse? is a great cartoon you can find on This Week In Education.

Education and the income gap: Darling-Hammond appeared in The Washington Post.

A Significant Error That Policymakers Commit is a post by Larry Cuban that I’m sure will be a candidate for the best educational commentary of the year.

In it, he discusses differences between “good” teaching and “successful” teaching, and describes “successful” learning. It’s too difficult — at least for me — to summarize succinctly, so I’d recommend you read his entire post.

Here are his final two paragraphs:

Not only does this policymaker error about quality classroom instruction confuse the personal traits of the teacher with teaching, it also nurtures a heroic view of school improvement where superstars (e.g., Geoffrey Canada in “Waiting for Superman,” Jaime Escalante of “Stand and Deliver”, Erin Gruwell of “Freedom Writers”) labor day in and day out to get their students to ace AP Calculus tests and become accomplished writers and achieve in Harlem schools. Neither doctors, lawyers, soldiers, nor nuclear physicists can depend upon superstars among them to get their important work done every day. Nor should all teachers have to be heroic. Policymakers attributing quality far more to individual traits in teachers than to the context in which they teach leads to squishing “good” teaching with “successful” learning doing even further collateral damage to the profession by setting up the expectation that only heroes need apply.

By stripping away from “good” learning essential factors of students’ motivation, the contexts in which they live, and the opportunities they have to learn in school–federal, state, and district policymakers inadvertently twist the links between teaching and learning into a simpleminded formula thereby mis-educating the public they serve while encouraging a generation of idealistic newcomers to become classroom heroes who end up deserting schools in wholesale numbers within a few years because they come to understand that “good” teaching does not lead automatically to “successful” learning. Fenstermacher and Richardson help us parse “quality teaching” into distinctions between “good” and “successful” teaching and learning while revealing clearly the error that policymakers have made and continue to do so.

The fantasies driving school reform: A primer for education graduates is by Richard Rothstein.

Berliner on Education and Inequality is from Diane Ravitch’s blog.

The Danger Of Denying The Coleman Report is by Gary Rubinstein.

Responding to the Gates Foundation: How do we Consider Evidence of Learning in Teacher Evaluations? is by Anthony Cody.

Dialogue with the Gates Foundation: Can Schools Defeat Poverty by Ignoring It? is from Anthony Cody.

Wow, What A Chart On International Education!

Public school grades – what’s really being graded? is from The Oklahoma Policy Institute (thanks to Wesley Fryer for the tip). This is a very interesting piece.

“8.5% of the variation in student achievement is due to teacher characteristics”

Research: Blame It On The Lead? is from This Week In Education.

Do Teachers Undercut Our “Relevance” By Pointing Out Other Factors That Affect Student Achievement?

Teacher Quality Mania: Backward by Design is by P.L. Thomas.

Martin Luther King Jr. Understood Poverty and So Do Teachers is by John Wilson at Ed Week.

New Research Shows Why Social Emotional Learning (SEL) and Character Education Are Not Enough

Quote Of The Day: “No Rich Child Left Behind”

Quote Of The Day: “The Opportunity Gap”

The cost of child poverty: $500 billion a year is from The Washington Post.

Social Emotional Learning Can Help, But More Research Shows It’s Not Enough

Education and poverty, again is by Matt Bruenig.

How Poverty Impacts Students’ Test Scores, In 4 Graphs is from The Huffington Post.

Excellent Pie Chart On What Influences Student Test Scores

New US Dept. of Ed Finds That “Less Effective Teaching” Responsible For 2-4 Percent Of Achievement Gap

Another Nail In VAM’s Coffin?


“Kids who get health insurance are more likely to finish high school and college”

Morality, Validity, and the Design of Instructionally Sensitive Tests is by David Berliner and appeared in Ed Week. Here’s an excerpt:

A consensus is that outside of school factors account for about 60% of the variance in student test scores, while schools account for about 20% of that variance (Haertel, 2013; Borman and Dowling, 2012; Coleman et al., 1966). Further, about half of the variance accounted for by schools is attributed to teachers. So, on tests that may be insensitive to instruction, teachers appear to account for about 10% of the variance we see in student achievement test scores (American Statistical Association, 2014). Thus outside-of-school factors appear 6 times more powerful than teachers in effecting student achievement.

Additional suggestions are 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 nearly 600 other “The Best…” lists I’ve compiled.