Tag: Joel Klein


Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type bool in /home/dropoutn/public_html/wp-content/themes/ralphkrause/ralphkrause/parts/mjr.php on line 47

Four Burning Questions in School Reform: It Starts with (Cathie) Black


Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type bool in /home/dropoutn/public_html/wp-content/themes/ralphkrause/ralphkrause/parts/mjr.php on line 47

Just because it’s Thanksgiving week doesn’t mean there aren’t points to ponder: What is New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s next step in getting support for making Cathleen Black chancellor…

Photo courtesy of Fallbrook Bonsall Village News

Just because it’s Thanksgiving week doesn’t mean there aren’t points to ponder:

  1. What is New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s next step in getting support for making Cathleen Black chancellor of New York City’s schools? Based on what some speculate, some folks (namely New York State Education Commissioner David Steiner, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and New York AFT boss Michael Mulgrew) want a more-education industry-versed person (essentially, a member of the educational status quo) to serve as Black’s co-pilot in overseeing the city’s Department of Education. Will Bloomberg play ball or pick one of outgoing Chancellor Joel Klein’s former deputies (notably Chris Cerf) and dare his opponents in a game of political chicken.
  2. Will incoming House Education and Labor Committee Chairman John Kline actually attempt an investigation (or show trial, depending on where one sits) of the Obama administration’s handling of federal stimulus funds — including Race to the Top money? Will he help back an effort by Utah’s Jason Chaffetz — who may take over one of the House subcommittees overseeing the District of Columbia — to revive the now-shuttered D.C. Opportunity voucher plan? The answer may be “no” to both.
  3. When will the National Education Association and American Federation of Teachers admit that defined-benefit pensions and other parts of traditional teacher compensation are no longer worth defending? That answer may come in the next few years as the pension deficits of their affiliates finally start hitting the bottom lines. Or they end up like the NEA’s Indiana affiliate and go bust altogether.
  4. Will Detroit and Indianapolis — home to two of the nation’s most-persistent dropout factories — be among the latest cities to have their districts be taken over by state education departments. Indiana’s education czar, Tony Bennett, has already fired his shot across the bow of Indianapolis Public Schools (which has  seven of 21 schools — including the notorious Manual High — under probation for five consecutive years) and other districts. Eduspiel speculated on what would happen to Detroit Public Schools earlier this year. Either way, both can’t end up like Philadelphia — whose five-year Promoting Power rate declined from 74 percent for the Class of 2001 to 64 percent for the Class of 2009 since Pennsylvania state officials took over the district nine years ago.

By the Way: The State of Black CT Alliance — which helped successfully push for the Nutmeg State’s Parent Trigger law — is hosting its first annual Building Blocks of Educational Excellence Campaign Dinner and Awards Ceremony. Congressman Chaka Fattah, Education Trust President Katie Haycock and yours truly will be speaking at the Dec. 16th event in Stamford, Conn., and will talk about to reform American public education and  Learn more (and buy your tickets) at the State of Black CT Alliance’s Web site.

1 Comment on Four Burning Questions in School Reform: It Starts with (Cathie) Black

Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type bool in /home/dropoutn/public_html/wp-content/themes/ralphkrause/ralphkrause/parts/mjr.php on line 47

A Considerable Legacy: Joel Klein


Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type bool in /home/dropoutn/public_html/wp-content/themes/ralphkrause/ralphkrause/parts/mjr.php on line 47

Joel Klein wasn’t exactly the natural choice for chancellor of New York City’s gargantuan and stupendously dysfunctional traditional public school system when he got the job in 2002. After all,…

http://assets.nydailynews.com/img/2009/12/19/alg_joel_klein.jpg

Joel Klein wasn’t exactly the natural choice for chancellor of New York City’s gargantuan and stupendously dysfunctional traditional public school system when he got the job in 2002. After all, the former U.S. Assistant Attorney General was better-known for his successful antitrust case against Microsoft in the 1990s than for any forays into education. As it turned out, the school district — which was taken over by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg as one of the first major efforts to place school systems under mayoral control — needed someone who wasn’t fully ensconced in the  stale status quo of the traditional education establishment to set it on a course for the better.

Eight years later, as Klein steps down as head of the nation’s largest traditional public school system, one can say he has changed the district’s once-infamous culture of mediocrity, byzantine bureaucracy and shockingly banal corruption. Graduation rates for the district (based on eighth-grade enrollment) have increased from 56 percent for the Class of 2002 to 63 percent for the Class of 2008, according to Dropout Nation‘s analysis of federal and New York City data. Student achievement levels have progressed steadily even as New York State has revised its own state tests for greater rigor.  The district is still a work in progress; the city’s abysmally low graduation rates for black males (and the New York Post‘s report about the travails of Wayne Knowland (who graduated from Fannie Lou Hamer High School despite his functional illiteracy) shows that there is still more work to be done. But the city is still doing better for its kids than it did nearly a decade ago.

Meanwhile New York City has become the pioneer for concepts that are (sadly) still considered innovative for education. Its development of the ARIS system has given teachers and administrators a tool that can be used for identifying potential dropouts, improving instruction and fostering long-term connections between teachers and their students. The shutdown of the city’s worst dropout factories and their replacement with smaller high schools with new cultures and more-dynamic staff has also shown an alternative to the rather faulty model of school turnaround efforts being advocated by the Obama administration. And Klein’s relentless pursuit of teacher quality reform — including efforts to use student test data in evaluating newly-hired teachers (and keeping laggards from gaining near-lifetime employment through tenure), and the attempt last month to publicly release Value-Added performance data has helped galvanize school reformers and others around dealing with one of the most-crucial steps in stemming the nation’s dropout crisis.

But Klein’s tenure isn’t just notable for its results. It offers some lessons to school reformers everywhere: You can successfully overhaul a traditional school system — and take numerous tough steps — and still be amiable to allies and critics. Traditional districts can be top-notch authorizers of high-quality charter schools — and even play significant roles in fostering their development (and giving families escape hatches from the worst traditional public education offers). And he has proven that education should not be left to teachers, principals and traditional players alone. We will not revolutionize American public education until we create dynamic cultures that embrace the genius within all of our children.

Cathleen Black, who succeeds Klein as chancellor, will have to do as good a job as he has. She has no choice but to succeed. Our kids need her to follow upon Klein’s stellar work revamping the Big Apple’s school system.

Watch this Dropout Nation excerpt of Klein’s speech earlier this year about turning around New York City’s high schools


2 Comments on A Considerable Legacy: Joel Klein

Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type bool in /home/dropoutn/public_html/wp-content/themes/ralphkrause/ralphkrause/parts/mjr.php on line 47

Watch: Al Sharpton on Breaking Old Alliances to Achieve School Reform


Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type bool in /home/dropoutn/public_html/wp-content/themes/ralphkrause/ralphkrause/parts/mjr.php on line 47

For better or worse, Al Sharpton has surely made a name for himself as an enfant terrible of the post-1960s Civil Rights Movement. But when he co-wrote an op-ed with…

For better or worse, Al Sharpton has surely made a name for himself as an enfant terrible of the post-1960s Civil Rights Movement. But when he co-wrote an op-ed with New York City Chancellor Joel Klein advocating for ending restrictions on the expansion of the charter school movement, everyone has to take notice. His own conversion to the school reform movement offers one more reason why defenders of traditional public education such as the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers can no longer count on the Democratic Party for unquestioned support. It also shows to school reformers why they must reach out to grassroots activists and parents to further their goals.

Watch this excerpt of Sharpton’s 2008 speech before a conference held by Newt Gingrich’s American Solutions. Then give Sharpton’s words some thought and consider how you will build new alliances for solving the nation’s education crisis.

Comments Off on Watch: Al Sharpton on Breaking Old Alliances to Achieve School Reform

Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type bool in /home/dropoutn/public_html/wp-content/themes/ralphkrause/ralphkrause/parts/mjr.php on line 47

Read: What is NAEP? Edition


Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type bool in /home/dropoutn/public_html/wp-content/themes/ralphkrause/ralphkrause/parts/mjr.php on line 47

What is happening today in the dropout nation — or what has been happening while your editor has been on the road: Amid last week’s woeful responses to the reading…

The senseless deaths of youth must stop. It's just that simple.

What is happening today in the dropout nation — or what has been happening while your editor has been on the road:

  1. Amid last week’s woeful responses to the reading test results from the 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress, Education Sector’s Chad Alderman offers a different perspective. He notes that if you break down the results — and realize that the underlying sampling now includes more blacks and Latinos (in order to better represent the nation), one will see some real progress. Black 4th-graders, for example, scored 23 points higher than fellow students in the same grade four years ago. This is all good. But a more-longitudinal assessment — showing progress among students between being in 4th and 8th grade — would certainly offer more perspective on the nation’s academic progress.
  2. Meanwhile the Bluegrass Institute’s Richard Innes notes that Kentucky’s NAEP performance may seem better than that of California, but appearances are deceiving. Especially when Kentucky’s education officials suppresses 46 percent of its English Language Learners and special ed students. Declares Innes: “only two other states in the entire country played the exclusion game harder.”
  3. Those two states, according to Dropout Nation‘s analysis: Maryland and Tennessee , which respectively excluded 57 percent and 55 percent of their ELL and Special Ed students. Which may explain why Maryland, in particular, is among the most-stubborn in resisting school reform efforts (and always seem to be the best-performing state in the union). New Jersey, which excludes 42 percent of ELL and Special Ed students, is no better, and neither is Delaware (it excludes 42 percent of ELL and Special Ed students); North Dakota excluded 44 percent of students while Ohio excluded 40 percent of its ELL and Special Ed students from NAEP. Certainly this dishonor role deserves much in the way of scorn; it also offers more ammunition to opponents of Common Core State Standards and other attempts at putting the nation under one national curricula standard.
  4. Speaking of scorn, two more deserving of it are the American Federation of Teachers’ New York City local and the Big Apple branch of the NAACP. They succeeded in convincing one judge to halt the shutdown of 19 of the city’s worst-performing schools and their replacement with higher-quality options. As Chancellor Joel Klein rightly notes: ““My view is that you don’t send students to failing schools, schools that can’t provide them what they need. The sad thing is that the union would bring a lawsuit to resign kids to failing schools in order to save jobs. And ultimately, that is what this is about.” Exactly. Shame on the two groups and those who support their position.
  5. Tom Vander Ark offers some thoughts on how to develop high-quality urban schools through a portfolio approach.
  6. Meanwhile in Chicago, the Black Star Project is looking for 1,000 men to help mentor the city’s children and keep them out of violence. Given that 143 Chicago Public School students have been shot during the 2009-2010 school year (and 20 slain), the need for adults to take to the schools and take action is greater than ever. Do your part.

Check out this week’s Dropout Nation Podcast, this time a part two of my focus steps needed to improve teacher quality. More will be coming down the pipe later this week.

And finally, to start off your Monday, here’s a little Tower of Power. Enjoy.


Comments Off on Read: What is NAEP? Edition

Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type bool in /home/dropoutn/public_html/wp-content/themes/ralphkrause/ralphkrause/parts/mjr.php on line 47

The Dropout Nation Podcast: The Next Steps for Race to the Top


Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type bool in /home/dropoutn/public_html/wp-content/themes/ralphkrause/ralphkrause/parts/mjr.php on line 47

On this week’s Dropout Nation Podcast, I look at the efforts by the Obama administration to bring districts into Race to the Top and offer some steps that could make…

Dropout Nation Podcast Cover

On this week’s Dropout Nation Podcast, I look at the efforts by the Obama administration to bring districts into Race to the Top and offer some steps that could make the reform work even more effective. This includes turning school districts pioneering school reform efforts into enterprise zones of sorts, freeing them from restrictive state laws and collective bargaining rules.

You can listen to the Podcast at RiShawn Biddle’s radio page or download directly to your iPod or MP3 player. Also, subscribe to the podcast series. It is also available on iTunes, Blubrry, Podcast Alley, the Education Podcast Network and Zune Marketplace.

2 Comments on The Dropout Nation Podcast: The Next Steps for Race to the Top

Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type bool in /home/dropoutn/public_html/wp-content/themes/ralphkrause/ralphkrause/parts/mjr.php on line 47

Read: Teacher Performance Edition


Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type bool in /home/dropoutn/public_html/wp-content/themes/ralphkrause/ralphkrause/parts/mjr.php on line 47

What’s happening this weekend in the dropout nation: New York City Department of Education Chancellor Joel Klein has instructed principals to use student test score data in evaluating probationary teachers…

What’s happening this weekend in the dropout nation:

  1. New York City Department of Education Chancellor Joel Klein has instructed principals to use student test score data in evaluating probationary teachers on their fitness for tenure, reports the New York Post. The AFT’s New York City local is, as you would expect, displeased. Given the past battles — including the move by the AFT to outright ban the use of test data in evaluations two years ago — expect this battle to get nasty. And, just as likely, Randi Weingarten to back further away from her announcement last month that she would back the use of tests in evaluations. But, as Gotham Schools points out, most of the 7,000 teachers being evaluated for tenure won’t be affected by the move because they teach subjects not covered on state assessments.
  2. The bigger uproar is in Houston, where the school district’s board unanimously enacted a measure under which test scores would be used in teacher evaluations. Weingarten has already offered her support for the local’s opposition to the plan, according to the Houston Chronicle. Stephen Sawchuck notes that the AFT may now find itself on a losing end of a battle to control the level to which test scores are used. I’d say the AFT and the NEA are already losing. The traditional teachers compensation system could exist unchanged so long as there was no objective data for measuring performance and the system wasn’t too costly to maintain. Neither of which is the case anymore.
  3. On the matter of teachers, read Kevin Carey’s 2004 report for the Education Trust on the importance of using data in evaluating and ultimately, finding, high quality teachers. Also, Martin Haberman offered thoughts on how better teacher preparation can help address achievement gaps. And Chad Ratliff notes his 2009 post on the need to revamp teacher compensation in Virginia (and taking advantage of federal Race to the Top and i3 dollars to do so).
  4. Also, the Wallace Foundation releases a brief on how states and districts can work together on improving school leadership. In particular, the report notes that strong political backing for school administrators and superintendents — along with keeping those folks in the job for a long time — can help improve the quality of administration and sustaining reforms.
  5. Kevin Carey, by the way, also looks at Trinity Washington University, which gets dinged by U.S. News & World Report‘s annual survey because it serves poor minority women and charges modest tuition to boot. Which could explain why so many state universities give merit scholarships to wealthier families (and devote less aid to their poorest students). Maybe Neal McCluskey has a point after all (of course he does).
  6. In City Limits, Geoffrey Canada offers his thoughts on why the Harlem Children’s Zone is succeeding and whether its model — now embraced by the Obama administration through its proposed Promise Neighborhoods — may succeed outside of New York City (and the financial and talent resources Canada can tap). Sample quote: “can put together a team down here and we can do it. That is not a huge lift. And that’s one of the most exciting but little-understood aspects of this.…. That’s mostly what this problem looks like across America. It’s not Chicago or Detroit or New York. Mostly it’s the [smaller towns]: You’ve got 1,500 kids in trouble and nobody with a strategy for how to save them. Now, you don’t need 50 people from elite colleges to do that.”

Check out the Dropout Nation Podcast on civil rights activists and school reform. The next podcast, on the need for school reformers to build bridges to parents and grassroots activists, will be available on Sunday.

2 Comments on Read: Teacher Performance Edition

Type on the field below and hit Enter/Return to search