Friday, October 25, 2013

Darling-Hammond on Common Core

Stanford prof Linda Darling-Hammond, who should have been our Sec. of Education, shares her thoughts on Common Core.
We should use the standards as guideposts and not straitjackets. And we should develop robust performance-based assessments of the kind I describe in my book that provide exciting opportunities for students to demonstrate their learning and for teachers to be engaged in development and scoring – used for information and improvement, not for sanctions and punishments. 
Read her entire post on Diane Ravitch's blog.

Nothing new here
Another federal charter school fraud trial begins in Philly. What else is new you ask? Look for more of the same in a city whose mass school closings, budget cuts and charter school expansion make it look like post-Katrina New Orleans. And I don't mean that in a good way, Sec. Duncan.

Speaking of Duncan, he made an appearance, along with Gov. Quinn and U.S. Rep. Brad Schneider at suburban Wheeling High School yesterday, for a photo op and to hail the school's makeover. Duncan labeled Wheeling as "a school of last resort" until this year.  Then it got on the receiving end of more than a million dollars in new STEM money, including the building last summer of a nanotechnology lab, an electron and atomic force microscope, an optical profiler, a 3-D printer and several pieces of advanced technology. According to Duncan, the addition of the lab and an introductory nanotechnology course this fall with about 30 students, has led to "a remarkable turnaround."
"We needed to strategically rebrand," said David Schuler, district superintendent.
Okay, say Chicago's inner-city high schools, many of which have also been rebranded as STEM schools. Where's our million-dollar makeover?

The man from Gates
The L.A. Times says that John Deasy, who was sent in by the Gates Foundation, is headed out the door in L.A. It's about time. He has left a train wreck in every district he's been. The teacher-bashing Deasy, who was a Broad-trained superintendent, will be remembered for imposing so-called Value-Added teacher evaluations based on student test scores and having them publicly posted in the newspapers besides teachers names. His failed game plan called for rapid expansion of scandal-plagued charter schools and  replacing veteran teachers with 5-week wonders from TFA.
Deasy was closely allied with former L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who left office this year because of term limits. Deasy's political position weakened further in recent school board elections, when two candidates backed by Deasy allies lost. The newly constituted board has made no moves against Deasy, but quickly began to challenge more of his policies.

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