Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

December 15, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

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


Here are some recent useful posts and articles on educational policy issues (You might also be interested in The Best Articles, Videos & Posts On Education Policy In 2017 – Part Two):

Fifteen newsletters you need to know about if you really love education journalism is an extremely useful post by Alexander Russo. I’m adding it to The Best Ways To Keep-Up With Current Education Issues.

Are Private Schools Immoral? A conversation with Nikole Hannah-Jones about race, education, and hypocrisy. is from The Atlantic. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About School Desegregation (& Segregation) – Help Me Find More.

How A Deregulated Internet Could Hurt America’s Classrooms is from NPR. You might also be interested in The Best Videos For Learning & Teaching About Net Neutrality.

Bruce Baker has compiled an important analysis of a recent study about Mark Zuckerberg’s big donation to Newark schools.  I’m adding it to The Best Posts & Articles For Learning About Newark’s $100 Million From Facebook.

She Breaks Rules While Expecting Students to Follow Them is an excellent commentary on Eva Moskowitz and her charter schools. It appeared in The NY Times.  I’m adding it to The Best Posts & Articles Analyzing Charter Schools.

December 12, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

Nine Not Very Optimistic Education Predictions For 2018


Valerie Strauss at The Washington Post always publishes my annual predictions list, and she’ll reprint it in late December.  Here’s an early peak at it.

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

Here’s my annual list of predictions for the upcoming year.  Though they’ve taken a decidedly pessimistic turn since the election of President Trump, there are still a few positive ones among them.

Let me know which ones you think are right or wrong-headed and share your own in the comments section.

* Now that Justice Neil M. Gorsuch is seated, the U.S. Supreme Court will be set to deal a major blow to teachers, students and their families – and public employee unions everywhere – when they rule on the Janus case.  The five-to-four decision will eliminate requiring worker payment of union fees – even though they benefit from union organizing and negotiations.  Schools across the country will have to deal with its disastrous consequences, and everyone can see a preview by learning about what happened in Wisconsin when legislators passed a similar law.

* Two of the biggest foundations in the U.S., the Gates Foundation and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, recently announced plans that appear to focus less on “top-down” emphasis and more on community-driven ones.  I’m predicting that one will actually learn from their past mistakes and genuinely work with educators on the ground – and not only charter supporters – while the other will fall back into bad habits.  However, I’m not ready to say which is the one that will genuinely follow-through with its good rhetoric.

* Hate crimes against people of color – particularly against Muslims – will continue to rise. As The Washington Post pointed out after the 2017 FBI report on hate crimes was published: “…it’s noteworthy that many of the groups against whom crimes rose by double digits were the focus of inflammatory rhetoric by Donald Trump over the course of his presidential campaign.”  There is no sign that rhetoric is decreasing, and more and more teachers will be supporting our students and their families defend themselves against these attacks.

* States will finally begin implementing their plans to comply with the Every Student Succeeds Act. Most efforts will go relatively well or, at minimum, elicit a “meh” from educators on the ground.  However, there will be one exception – how schools comply with the law’s emphasis on schools “reclassifying” English Language Learners as proficient in the language. Notwithstanding what might be good intentions behind the law, ESSA will begin to have a dangerous impact on ELLs as schools feel pressured to “meet the numbers” and reclassify ELLs who still need extra support.  These practices will be similar to how schools “gamed” student test scores during the No Child Left Behind era.

* More academic studies will be published supporting the effectiveness of restorative practices as a school discipline strategy (particularly in high schools); the substantial impact of teacher bias on student discipline; and the inadequacies of standardized test scores to accurately measure student growth. The new research on restorative practices will help continue its momentum, the studies on implicit bias will help overcome resistance to that concept from at least some educators, and the work on standardized tests will have absolutely no impact at all.

* Congress and Trump Administration will come to an agreement to all the “Dreamers” under DACA to stay in the United State permanently.  However, immediately after signing the bill, President Trump will direct that 150,000 child immigrants who came here as unaccompanied minors fleeing violence be deported. His order will be challenged in court and ultimately be ruled illegal.  In the meantime, however, high stress levels among many of our students will go even higher and provide additional challenges to learning.

* This next one is a guarantee – residents of Flint, Michigan, including children, won’t have access to safe water from the tap – they won’t have it until 2020.  This tragedy, which obviously impacts local schools, has spurred communities across the country to look at their own pipes and water, especially at schools.  Some progress will be made over the next year, but not enough.  Just as Flint as faded from the front pages, interest in local communities will decrease, as well.

* In an effort to stave off losing Congress, the Trump Administration and Congress will delay further moves on degrading the safety net that so many of our students and their families depend on, and this will include forgetting about repealing Obamacare and promoting school choice. Their strategy will be successful: Democrats will only narrow the Republicans’ majority by a net-gain of one seat in the Senate and by picking up fifteen in the House.  Those results should mean an even pessimistic list of predictions from me for 2019.

* I borrow this last one from educator Bill Ivey every year. He predicts that “each and every school day will bring tens of thousands of reasons to celebrate in schools across the country.” That sure sounds good to me…

You might want to review my previous years’ predictions and evaluate the quality of my foresight:

A teacher makes eight education predictions for 2017 — some of them dire
Eight Education Predictions (and some wishful thinking) for 2016
Nine Education Predictions for 2015
Nine educated education predictions for 2014!
10 education predictions for 2012
Education-Related Predictions for 2011




December 10, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

The Best Posts On The Nature/Nurture Debate

‘Teachers can only ever have a small impact on their students’ results – yet they are judged as if they are 100% responsible’ is a new article at TES that makes a lot of good points, including this one:

Seminal research by the American Statistical Association (2014) concluded that only 1-14 per cent of educational outcomes can be attributed to the “teacher factor” and within that, there are plenty more factors outside of the individual teacher’s control to take into account, such as class size, available teaching resources and budgets. The Coleman study on educational equality concluded that the remaining 86 per cent can be put down to “out of school” factors.

You can read more about this kind of research at The Best Places To Learn What Impact A Teacher (& Outside Factors) Have On Student Achievement.

But, elsewhere in the article, the author raises a troubling point about the nature/nurture debate without providing important context.

He talks about a recent study attributing a sizable amount of student academic achievement to genetics, without also discussing that plenty of research has shown that a person’s environment plays a massive role in determining if that natural genetic talent actually develops. For example, a child living in poverty is less likely to have their genetic benefits realized than a middle-class child with less stress and better nutrition.

If we don’t continually point this out, it seems to me there is a danger of some seizing on the point by saying that genetics is destiny.

Here are my previous posts on the topic – let me know other suggestions you have for additions:

This Is The Most Accessible Piece Out There On The “Nature/Nurture” Debate

Study Finds That Nurture Equals Nature In The United States

New Studies Highlight Blurry Line Between Nature & Nurture

A Look Back: “The Elephant In The Room In The Talent vs. Practice Debate”

December 7, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

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


Here are some recent useful posts and articles on educational policy issues (You might also be interested in The Best Articles, Videos & Posts On Education Policy In 2017 – Part Two):

Success Academy’s Radical Educational Experiment is from The New Yorker. I’m adding it to The Best Posts & Articles Analyzing Charter Schools.

US charter schools put growing numbers in racial isolation is from The Associated Press. I’m adding it to the same list.

Too Many Children in California Can’t Read, Lawsuit Claims is from The New York Times.

How Students Get Banished to Alternative Schools is from ProPublica.

How Effective Is Your School District? A New Measure Shows Where Students Learn the Most is an intriguing interactive from The NY Times.

4 Ways the Republican Tax Plan Could Affect Teachers, Students and Schools is from TIME. I’m adding it to Tax Cut Terrible For Us, Our Students & Their Families, But At Least The Onion Was Able To Get An Ed-Related Laugh Out Of It.

Now on Oracle’s Campus, a $43 Million Public High School is from The NY Times.

December 4, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

Statistic Of The Day: High School Grad Rates At All-Time High

U.S. high school graduation rates rise to new high is the headline of a Washington Post article today.

Here’s an excerpt:

You can read more at Ed Week’s article, U.S. Graduation Rate Hits New All-Time High, With Gains in All Student Groups.

I’m adding this info to The Best Articles Pointing Out That Our Schools Are Not Failing — Please Suggest More.

December 4, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

The Best Reports On The New “Lost Einsteins” Study

Stanford economist Raj Chetty has led a team of researchers that just released a huge new study on innovation in the United States. And it found something that most urban teachers know – there are millions of low-income children who could be brilliant innovators if they had the same resources as middle and wealthy students:

there could be millions of “lost Einsteins”—individuals who might have become inventors and changed the course of American life, had they grown up in different neighborhoods. “There are very large gaps in innovation by income, race, and gender,” Chetty told me. “These gaps don’t seem to be about differences in ability to innovate—they seem directly related to environment.”

Chetty’s research outside of schools is brilliant. Two years ago, he released a related study on the role of geography in economic success (see What Are The School Implications Of New Chetty Study On Geographical Mobility?).

When it comes to school-related research, however, he clearly has a blindspot, as do many economists (see The Best Posts & Articles About The Role Of Economists In Education).  I am always a bit amused when tenured university faculty question how much years of experience should factor in a K-12 teacher’s pay, as he did earlier this year.  Or the time a few years ago when he compared teachers to baseball players and that you need to  let some of the players with lower batting averages go.”

But this new study doesn’t seem to go there. Along with “ammunition” for political arguments against wealth inequality (see The Best Resources About Wealth & Income Inequality ), it reinforces the value of teachers looking at our students through the lens of assets and not deficits (see The Best Posts On Looking At Our Students Through The Lens Of Assets & Not Deficits).

Here are the best pieces on the research that I’ve seen so far:

Lost Einsteins: The Innovations We’re Missing appeared in The New York Times.

America’s Lost Einsteins is from The Atlantic.

Groundbreaking empirical research shows where innovation really comes from is from Vox.

Can Schools Help Uncover ‘Lost Einsteins’ in a New Generation of Inventors? is from Ed Week.

December 3, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

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


Here are some recent useful posts and articles on educational policy issues (You might also be interested in The Best Articles, Videos & Posts On Education Policy In 2017 – Part Two):

What Really Happened At The School Where ‘Every Senior Got Into College’ is from NPR. I’m adding it to The Best Posts About Attrition Rates At So-Called “Miracle” Schools, since there’s a definite connection.

Betsy DeVos Allies See New Obstacle to School Choice Efforts: Trump is from The NY Times.

Teachers and performance related pay – what’s the evidence? is from Evidence Based Educational Leadership. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning Why Teacher Merit Pay Is A Bad Idea.

I’m adding this next article and next two tweets to Tax Cut Terrible For Us, Our Students & Their Families, But At Least The Onion Was Able To Get An Ed-Related Laugh Out Of It:

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

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