Tag: L.A. Unified


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Dropout Nation on Twitter for 2010-02-11


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Check out up-to-the-minute news on the Dropout Nation Twitter feed. Here’s the best of today: More #charterschool segregation/integration sparring, courtesy of Colo.’s EPIC: # Sample EPIC quote: “In a highly…

You seen the bird. Do what he says.

Check out up-to-the-minute news on the Dropout Nation Twitter feed. Here’s the best of today:

  • More #charterschool segregation/integration sparring, courtesy of Colo.’s EPIC: #
  • Sample EPIC quote: “In a highly splintered and divided nation… policies that increase segregation should be remedied, not encouraged.” #
  • Based on EPIC/Civil Rights Project reports, expect more battles over the role of #CharterSchools in federal #edpolicy this year. #
  • RT @SailorX: “We’ll never fix poverty in America until we fix education.” – #JoelKlein this morning on #MorningJoe #edreform #
  • More #teachertenure #teacherquality reform recommendations from @Amprog: Districts dismiss just 1.4 % of tenured staff #
  • In #LAUSD preliminary votes on #edreform effort is in: Given chronicled shenanigans, one wonders if revote is likely. #
  • @jaketapper: @JimDeMint won’t endorse @SenJohnMcCain in re-election against @JDHayworth (voted for #NoChild #edreform in reply to jaketapper #
  • For #edreform activists, Hayworth may be no worse choice than McCain. Both supported #NoChild and may likely support reauth in present form. #
  • RT @jerridkruse: #edreform What the teacher does matters: http://ow.ly/15RkF #
  • @jerridkruse‘s answer to teachers and #edreform It should be about the students. Not the teachers. #applauseoftheweek #
  • RT @jerridkruse: Teachers need to be thinking about students’ thinking about thinking: http://ow.ly/15RmL #edreform #learning #
  • RT @samchaltain: Potential implications of Duncan’s latest remarks (“Don’t teach to the test!”): #edreform #RttT #
  • Honestly, what is wrong w/teaching to the test? If tests represents the standards we want children to learn, then tests should be the guide. #
  • This doesn’t mean literally teach to a test, but to actually use the standards/tests to shape lessons. Then innovate in how it is taught. #
  • By the way: “Portfolio assessments” useless largely because their analysis by teachers is largely subjective. Objective data always better. #
  • @bigswifty Exactly. Subjective=no standards=no accountability. Of course, Obama is backing off from accountability because of election 2010 in reply to bigswifty #
  • @bigswifty Reform is meaningless w/o re-election. But Ds will lose seats anyway because of other issues. #edreform isn’t one of them. in reply to bigswifty #
  • @Eduflack Anyone who thinks RIF will lose funding is delusional. And RIF needn’t worry anyway. It’ll be back in the line item in 4, 3, 2… in reply to Eduflack #
  • @Eduflack Being against giving children books, especially in light of #edreform efforts, would be perceived as contradictory by the public. in reply to Eduflack #
  • @Trace_Urdan I’m not commenting on whether RIF should be funded. I am saying is that every earmark has a constituency… in reply to Trace_Urdan #
  • @Trace_Urdan And RIF not only has a powerful group of backers, but also has a powerful message in terms of its role in improving literacy. in reply to Trace_Urdan #
  • @Trace_Urdan And in politics (and in the nonprofit realm), constituency+powerful message+institutional support= survival. The usual stuff. #
  • RT @MICHIGANDFER @EduExaminer: 26.8% of Detroit students graduate from H.S. http://tinyurl.com/yd3t6ar #edreform #dropoutfactories #edgap #
  • Off-ed: RT @jtLOL: Gibbs had something else written on his hand: “Update resume.” #perilsofbeingpoliticalspokesman #dontmesswithpalinarggh #
  • Note: Anti-intellectualism resides on all sides of political/social/educational aisles. We would be best off ridding it all from our midst #
  • Another thought: It is important to hold first principles. But not to embrace dogma. Because all dogma dies in the bright light of day. #
  • You should be willing to open your mind to data and realize sometimes your theories aren’t exactly so. #
  • Actually, make that most of the time. #
  • Off-ed: RT @jayrosen_nyu: BBC tells its news staff to get on board with social media. Not an option Seriously. #
  • RT @MEDixon215: In Ala.: Dr. Morton on passage of charter school legislation: “We will keep working. It needs to happen…” #edreform #RttT #
  • Rick Perry reverses himself? TX may offer #RttT for second round, according to Chron: No shocker. All hat, no cattle. #
  • For your snow day: Dropout Nation Podcast: Why #CivilRights Activists Should Embrace #edreform #NAACP #GaryOrfield #
  • NJLeftBehind notes 7.9 percent increase in Garden State per-pupil spending #edpolicy #edpspending #ARRA #
  • RT @bigswifty: In negotiating lang. for teacher evals in NCLB 01 (I was in room) both NEA and AFT opposed word “objective.” #

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Read: Reauthorization Edition


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What’s happening in the dropout nation these days: National Journal is hosting the latest of their weekly questions about education. This week, it is all about whether the No Child…

Young black males need the teaching so they can learn and succeed.

What’s happening in the dropout nation these days:

  1. National Journal is hosting the latest of their weekly questions about education. This week, it is all about whether the No Child Left Behind Act will be reauthorized this year. I have offered my thoughts in this week’s Dropout Nation Podcast.
  2. The president’s budget “freeze” doesn’t include education (of course). Education research also fairs well (according to EdWeek), alongside plans to fund charter schools that follow the Harlem Children’s Zone model (notes Tom Marshall). The Department of Education offers up its series of justifications for its spending priorities.
  3. What role does school choice play in housing prices. Eric Bruner and his colleagues say that choice-based enrollment policies across all school districts (inter-district) and within them can bring home price and income stability to surrounding neighborhoods. Which may prove the value of school choice of all kinds public and private.
  4. Meanwhile in D.C., schools boss Michelle Rhee isn’t exactly polling well, at least according to Bill Turque and Jon Cohen at the Washington Post. Some of it, of course, has to do with Rhee’s PR gaffes and general demeanor. But let’s get real: It is also about some more-unmentionable matters and also about the fact that Rhee is ending D.C. Public Schools’ role as the District’s jobs program and patronage system. This isn’t going to make the adults happy (even if it helps improve the educational opportunities of the kids who actually have to sit in the district’s classrooms).
  5. Jay Mathews, of course, makes no secret of his opinion of Rhee. Whether he thinks she’ll last beyond her current term? He’s not so sure. My opinion: It will depend on whether Adrian Fenty — just as unpopular as Rhee for reasons of his own creation — doesn’t draw strong primary and general election opposition. If he doesn’t, Rhee stays. But if he does…
  6. In Southern California, L.A. Unified’s school choice reform is mired in squabbling, with accusations of  favoritism being tossed around by the district’s AFT local, according to the L.A. Daily News. Meanwhile the L.A. Times editorial board is disappointed by all the other problems emerging from the districts handling of the bidding process for the 30 schools offered for the first round of reform.
  7. John Fensterwald notes a recent report on school district finances within the Golden State. Federal stimulus funds may have staved off fiscal belt-tightening for now, according to Fensterwald, but those funds are running out — which means more thoughtful approaches to operations.
  8. In New York City, the local NAACP sues the city’s Department of Education over its shutdown of failing schools, according to Gothamist. As usual, NAACP attempts to strike a blow over the wrong issue — and failing black children in the process.
  9. EducationNews re-runs one of Martin Haberman’s fine pieces on how to train teachers for urban school settings. Enjoy.
  10. In Education Leadership, Eric Sparks, Janet L. Johnson and Patrick Ackos discuss using data in determining which students are at risk for dropping out. They look at 9th-grade performance. But they fail to mention Robert Balfanz’s innovative work in the early dropout indicators arena.
  11. What is dropout nation: Tiny Schuylkill County, Pa., which has high levels of high school dropouts, according to a study cited in the Standard Speaker. The source of the data, Census sampling, may be unreliable for actually measuring the number of dropouts and graduates. But it gives some sense of the problems within Pennsylvania’s coal country.
  12. Kevin Carey takes shots at EdWeek for a report on a for-profit college industry study. Certainly, Carey is no fan of University of Phoenix’s of the world for reasons both good and specious. You go figure out where you stand.

And you can check out this week’s Dropout Nation Podcast, this on the reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act. Enjoy.

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The Read


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All the news inside — and outside — the dropout nation. Updated throughout the day (new items and updates are marked with an *): Bad instruction + Bad parenting =…

At some point, Black America must say enough is enough when it comes to tolerating academic failure. The time must be now.

At some point, Black America must say enough is enough when it comes to tolerating academic failure. The time must be now.

All the news inside — and outside — the dropout nation. Updated throughout the day (new items and updates are marked with an *):

  • Bad instruction + Bad parenting = poor academic performance: How poorly did San Francisco’s black students in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th grade perform on the latest round of state tests? Reports the San Francisco Chronicle: “Special education students had slightly higher proficiency rates than black students in second-, third- and fourth-grade math as well as fourth-grade English.” No wonder why black middle class residents who can afford to move to Silicon Valley or to cities with better-performing school systems, do so. Educational genocide at work, dear folks. And this must stop.
  • Meet one of L.A. Unified’s worst dropout factories: Just north of Compton and near the famed Hancock Park, Jefferson High School has been blessed with a beautiful Art Deco building and an alumni list that includes diplomat extraordinaire Ralph Bunch, dance impresario Alvin Ailey and saxophonist Dexter Gordon. But the school has become more notorious for schoolyard brawls, being at the center of the battle between the district and charter school outfit Green Dot schools (which opened five charter schools surrounding Jefferson in response to parent complaints about the school) and pervasive academic failure. And during the 2006-07 school year, it has garnered the status of being one of the state’s worst dropout factories, according to the Associated Press. Six out of every ten freshmen leave school without a sheepskin, making it the worst-performing dropout factory among the academic roach motels run by L.A. Unified.
  • Public school choice? What public school choice*: Parents and students in Washington, D.C.’s woeful public schools just got notices that they qualify for the public school choice option under No Child, by which they can transfer from one failing school to a better one. But as the Washington Post reports, the parents already know that the choices they face in the school system are grim to none. And the notifications come out so late that the options aren’t available at all. As I’ve mentioned last week, public school choice doesn’t exist for most parents and students in any form.
  • Building for nothing: Back in 2001, Milwaukee Public Schools embarked on a $102 million building spree in order to create local schools and in order to eschew the more destructive elements of school busing. This despite the fact that the district, like so many urban systems, has seen three decades of declining enrollment. The results, as reported by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in a three-part series, is, well, predictable: Students are still being bused to schools outside their respective neighborhoods; new additions and old buildings are sitting half-empty or — for the shame of the district — being rented out to private schools. And combo efforts such as building a church alongside another public school has gone awry, with both students and parishioners taking the hit.
  • The Milwaukee schools experience offers another reason for a new model: Over the past three years, I’ve floated something I call the Hollywood model for public education under which local school districts would move from becoming operators of schools and masters of academic instruction — a job which many people argue (and the evidence suggests), they don’t do so well — to becoming a dormitory authority similar to the state agency used in New York state to build colleges. Similar to the major motion picture studios (which rarely produce films, but focus on distribution and finance), school district would construct buildings, provide school lunch services and handle transportation services on behalf of public charter schools and private schools(none of which have the scale to do those jobs efficiently). The charter schools and private schools would become, essentially, become like small-shingle Hollywood studios, handling the instructional work that districts used to do. This embraces public education as being a system of financing the best options for every student, no matter their race or income, while maximizing the public dollars that are in place. The reality is that public school districts are actually pretty good in constructing buildings and moving people around, not so good at academic instruction or data systems. A Hollywood model of education may not be such a bad idea after all.
  • Speaking of building: Public school officials in New Orleans plans on building 28 new school buildings while selling off or otherwise jettisoning 50 others as part of a $685 million plan funded by FEMA funds, according to the Times-Picayune. The key part of the plan: A separate authority that would essentially build and manage the buildings on behalf of both the existing traditional public school system, the Recovery District of charters and traditional public schools run by the state and other entities. Essentially, this could be the Hollywood model at work — if the penchant of officials for corruption and sleaze  doesn’t trump the goal of efficient building.
  • Better middle schools, New York style: The Daily News offers some suggestions on middle schools that aren’t “middle of the pack.” Check it out.
  • A challenge*: Jay Greene asks the Broader, Bolder crowd to put their words to practice by coming up with a test model of their proposed community school concept. Save for Leo Casey’s response and a small missive from Lawrence Mishel, no response has been forthcoming from the group in response to other criticisms of their anti-accountability plan.
  • From my end*, Broader, Bolder is right to note that a better approach to the current public welfare system — one that offers some form of wrap-around help for families in need — is probably needed for the children coming out of poverty-minded homes. But schools cannot abdicate their responsibility for educating these children and preparing them for higher education and life. Good teachers can overcome other socioeconomic problems. But good instruction and rigorous curricula must first be provided by schools in order for this to happen.
  • And feel free* to check out my latest piece for The American Spectator, this time, on how Reason magazine’s rating of Chicago as the most nanny-statelike city in America doesn’t fully consider all the problems of the City of Broad Shoulders. For most people, the Second City’s status as first in the nation when it comes to corruption — along with its underperforming schools — is far more disconcerting than its anti-liberty coddling and toddling.

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