Tag: education data


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Read: Snowbound Edition


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What’s happening today in the dropout nation: When the National Education Association took control of the Indiana State Teachers Association last year, Association after the collapse of its insurance trust…

What’s happening today in the dropout nation:

  1. When the National Education Association took control of the Indiana State Teachers Association last year, Association after the collapse of its insurance trust fund, it was more than just a colossal embarrassment of alleged financial mismanagement – and a loss of coverage for its 50,000 rank-and-file members. After decades of winning expensive compensation packages that have made teaching one of the best-paid professions in the public sector, the collapse of ISTA — along with $600 billion in pension deficits and underfunded retirement liabilities — exposes teachers unions to increased scrutiny — especially as taxpayers may end up on the hook for the unions’ failings. Read more about the collapse — and how it could help spur teacher compensation and quality reforms — in my latest Labor Watch report.
  2. Tom Vander Ark sums up the problem with the Obama Administration’s decision to essentially gut the No Child Left Behind Act by eliminating its Adequate Yearly Progress provisions: Doing so will abandon the promise of assuring that every child no matter their race or economic status, can attend a great school staffed by high-performing teachers. Of course, as I hinted last week in The American Spectator, the administration may be doing this (along with boosting education spending for FY 2011) in order to placate the NEA and AFT, whose help they will need in order to keep control of Congress.
  3. The folks behind The Lottery are rallying folks around an “Education Constitution” demanding teacher quality reforms, expansion of school choice and other reforms. Check it out and sign it.
  4. The U.S. Department of Education releases a timely report on an important — if rarely-considered — use of school data: Improving teaching, staffing, student diagnostics and other matters at the district, school and even classroom levels. As I wrote last year in A Byte at the Apple, school data will only be the most useful once the information is delivered and made accessible in ways teachers, administrators and parents find appealing and useful. Right now, however, this is still a problem.
  5. Speaking of useful data, the Consortium on Chicago School Research has a series of papers examining the on-time graduation progress of the Windy City’s high school students. Each of Chicago’s high schools are examined in depth. Read them. I am.
  6. EducationNews is re-running another one of teaching guru Martin Haberman’s fine essays, this on whether the right people are entering teaching. Given the efforts to reform ed schools and weed out laggards before they even apprentice, the piece is as timely as ever.
  7. And, with Gary Orfield’s study of charter school segregation gaining attention from newspapers and school reformers alike, Sonya Sharp of Mother Jones points out the one thing everyone forgets: Traditional school districts are just as segregated (and often, even more segregated) no matter where we go. Joanne Jacobs also offers a compendium of the arguments (including those by your friendly neighborhood editor). And, by the way, here is a piece I wrote a few years ago about diversity and public schools.
  8. Intramural Sparring Watch: Big Edreform Andy #1 (also known as Andrew Rotherham) This Week in Education‘s Alexander Russo (and his employer, Scholastic) for for allegedly running “hearsay” claims against Massachusetts’ education secretary, Paul Reveille, for his supposed intervention in the authorizing of a local charter school. Russo, by the way, has taken potshots against Rotherham and his folks at the Education Sector (which Rotherham, by the way, is leaving by the end of March) for years. Most recently, he accused EdSector of allegedly mucking around with a report authored by EdSector’s now-departed cofounder. Yeah, I’m exhausted from just writing about this.

Meanwhile, check out this week’s Dropout Nation Podcast on the reauthorization of No Child, along with my pieces this week on charter schools and segregation. The next podcast, on civil rights activists and education reform, will be available on Sunday before the Super Bowl. And since you are all stuck inside, get your debate on.

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Read: Monday Morning Memo Edition


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What’s happening in the dropout nation: How many teachers — and schools — use the Internet to engage with parents? Jay Mathews notices that many teachers stubbornly won’t do so….

Cartoon by Gary Varvel

Cartoon by Gary Varvel

What’s happening in the dropout nation:

  1. How many teachers — and schools — use the Internet to engage with parents? Jay Mathews notices that many teachers stubbornly won’t do so. Unfortunately, as with much with the use of technology and data in education, this isn’t so shocking. It would be great to have a technology argument in education similar to what’s going on in the media business.
  2. Julia Steiny on the overuse of harsh school discipline: “Schools banish kids often and self-righteously.. It’s barbaric.”
  3. Big Ed Reform Andy #1 provides a round-up of Race to the Top news out of the Wolverine State. As I had mentioned in October, for many states, it is as much a pursuit of the dollars as it is about achieving substantial education reform. This isn’t a bad thing if the correct results are achieved.
  4. Tom Vander Ark wants the nation’s dropout factories to be fixed or replaced. Who can disagree? This should also apply to the schools that serve as feeders into them.
  5. Mark Kleiman thinks the No Child Left Behind Act’s focus on testing all students at just one point in a school year is rather inefficient; according to him, management guru W. Edwards Deming would be “appalled” by it. Maybe. But it doesn’t have to be an either-or. All students need to be tested in order to assure that each child gets the highest-quality education possible based on his needs. At the same time, sampling would also make sense to do in order to see the long-term results of broad-based reforms. How about that.
  6. School reform isn’t about popularity. Judging by the protests over the closing of Jamaica High and a few other New York City schools, Joel Klein and company know this all too well.
  7. Meanwhile in New Jersey, Gov.-elect Chris Christie is looking to expand a limited public school choice program, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. If successful, New Jersey would be following up on California’s recent expansion of a similar program.
  8. Want to learn more about how many California students aren’t making it from high school into college. Check out Measuring Success, Making Progress, which is funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation (hat tip to The Educated Guess).

Subscribe to Dropout Nation’s Twitter feed to get up-to-the-minute updates.

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Temporary Money for Permanent Issues


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There isn’t a state that isn’t scrambling for federal Race to the Top funding. But California, already mired in battles over spending priorities and bloated budgets, has the most intriguing…

Photo courtesy of the Sacramento Bee

Photo courtesy of the Sacramento Bee

There isn’t a state that isn’t scrambling for federal Race to the Top funding. But California, already mired in battles over spending priorities and bloated budgets, has the most intriguing proposal for using some of those dollars: Finally connecting its sprawl of education data systems into one longitudinal regime.

Earlier this month, state legislators defied the California Teachers Association by eliminating a restriction on tying together the state’s student data and teacher data systems. At the same time, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is championing measures that would create performance pay scales for teachers, essentially tying teacher compensation to student achievement.

Even if all of the measures (which includes eliminating the state-mandated cap on charter schools) get past the CTA and the legislature, California isn’t guaranteed Reach to the Top funds. And even if they get the money, it doesn’t solve the long-term reasons why state school data systems have been anything but: The lack of political will in overcoming the structural obstacles to unifying the systems. Until California addresses how it governs it primary, secondary and post-secondary education systems (including the atrociously balkanized college data systems within the University of California, California State and community college systems) and determines who will actually operate these systems, the funding will simply be spent with little in the way of results.

You can read more in my chapter on school data systems in A Byte At the Apple: Rethinking Education Data for the Post-NCLB Era. Eric Osberg also offers his thoughts.

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