Forbes interviews the Sec. of Ed. on Race-To-The-Top
It's a free-market-style competition, and Duncan warns in an interview with Forbes that when the results are announced in April, there will be "more losers than winners." (Obama's Classroom Fixer)
It's a free-market-style competition, and Duncan warns in an interview with Forbes that when the results are announced in April, there will be "more losers than winners." (Obama's Classroom Fixer)
The most provocative reforms will replace the elementary school ISAT with a tougher exam, mandate testing at every grade and rate teachers and principals based on students' test results. (Tribune)
Hours after rebuffing parents and voting to shut 19 public schools, education officials announced plans to end most programs at Alfred E. Smith High in the Bronx and replace them with a charter school. That charter school, however, has its own troubled history. Read the rest here.
Richardson-Lowry left the building commissioner post days after an accident at the John Hancock Center, where scaffolding plunged more than 40 floors to the ground during a wind storm and killed three women. But a city spokesperson said Richardson-Lowry’s departure had nothing to do with the accident.Richardson-Lowry comes to a school board in the midst of a major scandal and her appointment will do little to change CPS image as an annex of City Hall, rife with corruption and patronage. The last two board presidents, Michael Scott (who committed suicide in November) and Rufus Williams, are the subject of investigations surrounding the misuse of funds. Daley's appointed schools CEO Ron Huberman recently revoked credit cards from 89 CPS bureaucrats. As one would expect, the current investigation is being carefully run by another Daley-appointed lawyer.
Are Fenty and Rhee gaming the system by using the editorial page this way? Of course. Is this a healthy thing for readers of The Post? Probably not. Is it going to keep me from doing my job effectively? Nope.
Damn! That was the very line I had pulled out and tweeted about yesterday. But when the column reappeared this morning, the entire last paragraph was missing--except for, "Is it going to keep me from doing my job effectively? Nope." Luckily, I had made a copy of Turque's original column.
Now that last question looms large. As the old saying goes, just because you're paranoid, doesn't mean they're not trying to get you.
Another disappearing Act
This one, not nearly as significant, although still Rhee-related.
On Tuesday, I had a little, not-so-friendly exchange with ed gadfly blogger, Alexander Russo. Russo, in his TWIE blog, had launched a broadside against Rhee's critics, charging them with opportunism for jumping all over the D.C. superintendent for saying:
Russo continued his Tweet assault, with the lead-in "I'm no Rhee apologist, but..."
"I got rid of teachers who had hit children, who had had sex with children, who had missed 78 days of school."
4 a.m. After a two-hour protest that closed the streets in Fort Greene; nearly nine hours of testimony by concerned elected officials, parents, teachers, and students; and a series of votes that underscored the divide between Mayor Bloomberg and everyone else on school politics, the Panel for Educational Policy determined early this morning that 20 city schools, both young and old, small and large, will begin to close this fall. We’ll have more about the implications of the panel’s decisions starting sometime tomorrow afternoon.
This is deeper than bad data on standardized test scores. This is about an institution being taken away that my child goes to, I went to, maybe my mother went to. Frankly, it’s about communities, it’s about neighborhoods, it’s about relationships. Data doesn’t tip those things. And the district doesn’t factor those things in to its school closings. Most of
’s closings and turnarounds have taken place in neighborhoods ravaged by poverty. Chicago
Knowles says it’s hard to measure the cost of eliminating one of the last remaining institutions in a disinvested neighborhood. If we could measure that, it might make closing schools more of a dilemma.
"Assessment systems must be aligned with [national] expectations (standards)." Now there's a sentence that should strike fear in the heart of all good teachers."Supt. Michelle Rhee referring to 266 laid-off D.C. teachers
"I got rid of teachers who had hit children, who had had sex with children, who had missed 78 days of school. Why wouldn't we take those things into consideration?" (Fast Company)Rhee, yesterday
"'It was never our intention, nor did I ever say, it was all of the teachers who fell into these categories...Our intention was not to paint all teachers with a broad brushstroke." (Edweek)Rhee apologists
"Michelle Rhee's great virtue is that she's been willing to say what others have not been willing to say, and to take on fights others are not willing to take on," said Andy Smarick of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute. (Washington Examiner)
"I got rid of teachers who had hit children, who had had sex with children, who had missed 78 days of school. Why wouldn't we take those things into consideration?"Dakarai Aarons at Edweek writes:
Questions immediately arose. If these teachers had been physically and sexually abusing children, why were they allowed to remain until a budget crunch required dismissing teachers? How many of the 266 teachers had been abusing students?After days of embarrassed silence, Rhee and her PR team finally figured out what to say. The response came in a letter to D.C. Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray and members Kwame Brown and Marion Barry that was released to the press today. She probably would have been smarter exercising her right to remain silent. The letter contained not a hint of self-criticism for defaming hundreds of teaching professionals. Rhee still insists that there was one and only one teacher among those fired, who was accused of having sex with a student months ago and was no longer a classroom teacher.
"'It was never our intention, nor did I ever say, it was all of the teachers who fell into these categories...Our intention was not to paint all teachers with a broad brushstroke."It's now time to fire Rhee and bring someone in with some leadership experience and self-control. Rhee's so-called reform has done nothing to improve schooling for most of the District's children. She has become an embarrassment, even for her most avid supporters/apologists like those at the Washington Post, who have been forced into damage-control mode.
"She said that that was what he wrote, and I said: ' ... It's a good enough reason for me to get rid of someone,' " said HardyProblem is--she mixed up DePaul University prof, Bill Martin, Jr. author of Ethical Marxism: The Categorical Imperative of Liberation with Bill Martin, author of Brown Bear, Brown Bear. What do you see?
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, what do you see? I see a red bird looking at me.RED bird, get it?
Duncan must contend with critics on the right who don’t accept the federal government’s active role in education, and ones on the left who see him as a neoliberal enforcer, exploiting Obama’s Democratic bona fides to impose the free-market reform agenda on the unions. (New Yorker)Quoting me
Small schools expert Mike Klonsky has written about the controversy on his blog, asking his readers to help school officials comb through the dictionary and find the offending words. "The problem for the book-banning officials is, they have to be able to read through the dictionary themselves in order to find more sex-related words," he writes. (Edweek)
CPS resists "at-risk" kids
In spite of Chicago Public Schools chief Ron Huberman's pledge to help at-risk teenagers, in some instances school officials are undermining that effort, making it difficult for such troubled youths to return to school after they have been incarcerated, according to judges, attorneys, probation officials and others in the juvenile justice system. (Tribune)
A new curriculum will be tougher and will consist of more content courses, especially in mathematics. Education students must specialize in a content area, even if they are teaching in elementary school. "We're talking about having a course in probability and statistics that elementary teachers will have to have because that's what they use in elementary school," [the real dean, Mari] Koerner said. "So you can't be a teacher if you're math-phobic." (Arizona Republic).More elementary teachers with a background in statistics and little knowledge about child development and learning theory. Isn't that special?
Another indication of ASU going with the conservative flow in teacher ed is their $18 million contract to study and model Teach for America's approach. Sounds like a win-win for both.
I actually like the ideas of teachers having a specialty and of placing students in classrooms while they are doing course work. But are these something new at ASU? How sad.
Tweets Ken Libby: "I bet David Berliner has some choice words for these upcoming changes to ASU's teacher program." ASU Regents Professor of Education, Berliner is co-author of The Manufactured Crisis and one of the biggest critics of the neo-conservative/privatization trends in public ed reform.
The problem for the book-banning officials is, they have to be able to read through the dictionary themselves in order to find more sex-related words.
"It's hard to sit and read the dictionary, but we'll be looking to find other things of a graphic nature," Cadmus said. She explained that other dictionary entries defining human anatomy would probably not be cause for alarm.
To help Betti and the other officials build their case against the dictionary, I'm asking readers to comb through their copies of Webster's and send in any words, via the comments section, that might be considered inappropriate for school age children to read. Then I will forward them on to the good people at Meniffee.
We do not need to standardize. We need to differentiate—to offer a greater variety of courses—and we should work on the quality of these courses. They should not be shabby, dead-end courses for those thought to be incapable of the long-favored academic courses. Rather, they should represent a genuine democratic respect for all the interests and talents required in the contemporary work world. (Edweek)
Dear Mr. Klonsky,Hi June.
I am a high school senior planning to attend Northwestern next fall. I have been considering pursuing studies related to education and it is through this interest that I landed on your blog site. I am trying to understand your differences with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan on the subject of charter schools and how they differ from the small school approach (other than on the issue of public vs. private). I'll continue looking at your blog. Possibly you can recommend other resources. Thank you for your time, June
Marshall's test scores have continued to dip, despite being "re-engineered" in 2000 and receiving a highly-paid principal-mentor in 2006. "Haven't they tried this before?" Marshall parent Laticia Fields asked of the latest overhaul.
"CPS doesn't know what it's doing, and that's the only reason our kids aren't learning." Past fixes weren't deep or widespread enough, Huberman insisted. The largely black, low-income school has languished on academic probation for 14 years. "This is the biggest dosage [of change] you can get,'' Huberman said.
That says it all, doesn't it. Huberman's metaphor for change is another dose of meds being tested on an ailing patient. If one pill doesn't work, ie. a new super-star principal, give 'em reconstitution or re-engineering. If that won't fix things, fire all the teachers (except the coach).
My favorite Chicago headline on all this--FIXED SCHOOLS FAIL
The overwhelming message is that, although we supported President Obama as a candidate and continue to have hope today, we do not feel heard by this administration, and have grave concerns about many of the actions of U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.
I didn't think it was right of Ms. McNeil to leave my "in some ways worse than Bush" quote hanging out there without any examples or explanation. For the sake of clarity, I don't think the current regime is worse than the neo-cons or that Sec. Duncan is worse than Paige or Spellings. The fact that teachers and their union leadership is even at the table, represents a step up from the previous 8 years.Michele was nice enough to respond with this note to me:
My point was that there are some things, some policies, which are even more destructive and more of a threat to the public aspect of public schooling. What is worse about current policies is the cynical way Duncan has used his power and the threat of withholding desperately-needed federal dollars in the midst of the current economic crisis, to coerce states and school districts into accepting his failed approach to reform (there's now important and overwhelming evidence of this failure coming out in the Chicago media).
This failed Chicago approach includes, as I pointed out to Michelle McNeil, massive school closings in inner-city neighborhoods, turning local public schools over to private management companies, single-minded emphasis on standardized tests and test-driven merit pay. On these policies he's outstripped even the previous administration.
I'm still hopeful however that the push-back we are now seeing in communities and by hundreds of school districts saying no to the Race-To-The-Top (an even worse metaphor for reform than No Child Left Behind), will force a rethinking and shift in these policies.
...on the Duncan profile. Sometimes in my attempt to cram a lot into a small space (tho I did get a fair amount of space, no doubt, for this piece) I don't do as good of a job as I could have in fully explaining people's thoughts. So I just wanted to drop you a quick note and thank you for further clarifying, and to let you know I appreciated your comments. I took note!"Every picture tells a story, don't it"--Rod Stewart
There is the influence of the voodoo religion, which spreads the message that life is capricious and planning futile. There are high levels of social mistrust. Responsibility is often not internalized.As for black folks in Harlem, we just need to get rid of their culture and replace it with "a culture of achievement." Here's Brooks' "intrusive paternalism" solution to poverty there:
...the Harlem Children’s Zone and the No Excuses schools, are led by people who figure they don’t understand all the factors that have contributed to poverty, but they don’t care. They are going to replace parts of the local culture with a highly demanding, highly intensive culture of achievement — involving everything from new child-rearing practices to stricter schools to better job performance.Why we swallow Race To The Top
Nevada’s school superintendent, Keith W. Rheault, said in an interview that some Nevada educators had initially grumbled about the federal program but had fallen silent as the state’s tax revenues plummeted last year.
When you’re starving and somebody puts food in your mouth, it’s amazing what states will do,” Mr. Rheault said. (NYT)
The school takes on even more of a family role for the child, encouraging them to keep going," said student affairs coordinator Stefanie Siegel. "Academic success can be hard to keep on the front of the table because you're just trying to keep the students stable."
Marshall, home to the winningest basketball coach in state history -- girls coach Dorothy Gaters -- has been through its share of fixes. In 2000, it was "re-engineered.'' By 2006, Lane Tech Principal Keith Foley -- whom CPS officials touted as a "superstar''-- was sent in as a principal mentor. At the time, 15 percent of kids were passing state tests. The pass rate has since plunged to 3.9 percent. (Chicago Sun-Times)
Here's what they call "looting"
"A riot is the language of the unheard." ("Other America" Speech, 1968)
"People who have not been eating or drinking for almost 50 hours and are already in a very poor situation," U.N. humanitarian spokeswoman Elisabeth Byrs said in Geneva. "If they see a truck with something, or if they see a supermarket which has collapsed, they just rush to get something to eat." (Michael Shaw, Huffington)Parents hate L.A. huge, overcrowded high schools, but...
Enabling parents to choose from mediocre options falls way short of finding more engaging teachers, making classroom life meaningful for blue-collar kids. Rebuilding the California economy necessitates fresh and inventive forms of human capital. The marketeers - from L.A. to D.C. - have yet to ask how we retool schools to impart the analytic skills and social agility that new jobs and new lifestyles already require.(Bruce Fuller, SF Gate)
The architect of Renaissance 2010, former schools CEO Arne Duncan, is now the U.S. Secretary of Education -- and he's taking the Daley-Duncan model national as part of his Race to the Top reform plan.The Tribune study also confirms that:
"We haven't looked at all the data, but our belief is that Renaissance 2010 dramatically improved the educational options in communities across Chicago," said Peter Cunningham, Duncan's spokesman, who followed him from Chicago to Washington. "We believe that it is contributing to Chicago's overall success. Renaissance 2010 and Race to the Top both reflect a willingness to be bold, hold yourself to higher standards and push for dramatic change, not incremental change."Phyllis Lockett, president of the Renaissance School Fund, claims she has a secret, not-yet published study that shows Ren10 schools outperforming comparable neighborhood schools by 4 points.
"It's not like we are ready to cheer and scream success," Lockett said. "Our schools are doing very well but we've got to raise the bar. It's not good enough to 'just be better than the neighborhood schools.'Promising more of the same during the rest of his term in office, Daley's appointed schools CEO Ron Huberman referred to the past 6 years as, "the first phase of Renaissance 2010" which he called "the organic part of a brand-new reform."
"In the second phase, we need to put our energy behind the proven factors that work and drive them hard. If we had not gone through stage one -- as painful as it might have been -- we could not get to stage two."Duncan should apologize
Academics are supposed to stick to the facts and remain impartial, but Ayers and Klonsky have clearly failed the test...Closing and reopening a failing school is an absolute last resort, intended only for the small handful of schools that have consistently underperformed while the rest of the system has made steady and dramatic gains...All of us in Chicago are grateful to Ayers and Klonsky for their work with small schools in our city and their continuing commitment to education, but they need to get their facts straight.Duncan's response was at best misleading. He is calling for the closing of thousands of schools, not as a "last resort" but as the mainstay of his mandated Race-To-The-Top strategy and threatening the losses of badly needed school funding if states and districts fail to comply.
... For most of the past decade the field of education has been a battleground in the freedom struggle. It was not fortuitous that education became embroiled in this conflict. Education is one of the vital tools the Negro needs in order to advance. And yet it has been denied him by devises of segregation and manipulations with quality.Historically, to keep Negroes in oppression they were deprived an education. In slave days it was illegal to teach a slave to read or write. With the ending of slavery and the emergence of quasi freedom, Negroes were only partially educated—sufficient to make their work efficient but insufficient to raise them to equality.It is precisely because education is the road to equality and citizenship that it has been made more elusive for Negroes than many other rights. The walling off of Negroes from equal education is part of the historical design to submerge him in second-class status. Therefore as Negroes have struggled to be free they have had to fight for the opportunity for a decent education.......The richest nation on Earth has never allocated enough resources to build sufficient schools, to compensate adequately its teachers, and to surround them with the prestige our work justifies. We squander funds on highways, on the frenetic pursuit of recreation, on the overabundance of overkill armament, but we pauperize education."
Final bids were due early this week and, in the end, charter operators almost exclusively sought the new buildings. They turned in no proposals for Burbank Middle School and Gardena, San Pedro, Maywood Academy and Lincoln high schools.
"It is revealing that only a few charter operators are interested in LAUSD's most challenging schools," said L.A. school board member Steve Zimmer. "For most charters, public school choice seems to be about land and facilities." (L.A. Times)
The leading donor to Brighter Choice is the Walton Family Foundation, run by the heirs of the Wal-Mart store chain. Disliked by union advocates, the Walton group has doled out $15 million for charter school construction alone in Albany and more than $1 million a year for several years for operations of the growing Brighter Choice charter schools.
Bill Schubert, 2007 winner of the Mary Anne Raywid Award, is SmallTalk's guest blogger.