Tag: Tom Vander Ark


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Rewind: The Dropout Nation Podcast: Building Long-Lasting Connections Between Teachers and Students


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For those who read the New York Times report on the use of Facebook by students to praise their teachers — or Bijan Sabat’s own thoughts on the matter —…

Steven Evangelista with Eva Moskowitz. Photo courtesy of GothamSchools.org

For those who read the New York Times report on the use of Facebook by students to praise their teachers — or Bijan Sabat’s own thoughts on the matter — listen to this Dropout Nation Podcast on Harlem Link Charter School co-founder Steven Evangelista and how his rediscovery of one of his former students — and where the kid landed — is forcing him to look at one of the biggest challenges to stemming the nation’s dropout crisis.

In an age in which Facebook and Twitter can help friends and family deepen connection, why isn’t American public education using technology and social media — including school data systems — to broaden the crucial bond between teacher and student (especially a student who needs those bonds to stay on the path to graduation) long after the child leaves the classroom. Unfortunately, the same rules that hinder the development of school data system — a matter about which I discussed in A Byte At the Apple also complicate this work.

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.

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The Dropout Nation Podcast: Building Long-Lasting Connections Between Teachers and Students


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On this week’s Dropout Nation Podcast, I profile Harlem Link Charter School co-founder Steven Evangelista and how his rediscovery of one of his former students — and where the kid…

Dropout Nation Podcast Cover

On this week’s Dropout Nation Podcast, I profile Harlem Link Charter School co-founder Steven Evangelista and how his rediscovery of one of his former students — and where the kid landed — is forcing him to look at one of the biggest challenges to stemming the nation’s dropout crisis. In an age in which Facebook and Twitter can help friends and family deepen connection, why isn’t American public education using technology and social media — including school data systems — to broaden the crucial bond between teacher and student (especially a student who needs those bonds to stay on the path to graduation) long after the child leaves the classroom?

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.

1 Comment on The Dropout Nation Podcast: Building Long-Lasting Connections Between Teachers and Students

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Dropout Nation on Twitter for March 14th


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Check out the Dropout Nation Twitter feed for instant news and updates on the reform of American public education. Here are some select tweets from March 14th: RT @eriksyring: RT…

Check out the Dropout Nation Twitter feed for instant news and updates on the reform of American public education. Here are some select tweets from March 14th:

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Read: Failing to Lead Department


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What’s happening today in the dropout nation: The Dallas Morning News takes a look at the school district’s dropout factories — many of which are home to largely black and…

Helpling with homework and attending the PTA is no longer the only part parents must play in their children's academic lives. They must also help in shaping their curricula -- and must have the tools and support to do so. (Photo courtesy of needsfoundation.org)

What’s happening today in the dropout nation:

  1. The Dallas Morning News takes a look at the school district’s dropout factories — many of which are home to largely black and Latino students — and dissects why turning around their performance is so difficult. One reason that can easily be mentioned: The lack of community leadership, especially from black and Latino leaders. EducationNews’ Jimmy Kilpatrick (hat tip to him) rightly asks this question of the city’s (and the nation’s) black political leaders (and it goes for Latino and white leaders as well): “Where is the… outrage?
  2. Speaking of the lack of leadership on school reform among the nation’s black politicians, Jennifer Medina profiles New York State Sen.  Bill Perkins, who has proven to be the biggest foe against the expansion (and existence) of charter schools in Empire Land. Sadly, he ignores the benefits charters are bringing to students who live in his Harlem-centered district. Lovely. As Harlem Children’s Zone boss Geoffrey Canada points out, Perkins’ problem seems to be that most of the operators of charters are from outside the community. Well, Mr. Perkins, how about demanding more from the black leaders and middle class residents in your own community instead of piling on people who are willing to help children who aren’t their own by birth. Really. When you ask that question and demand more, then come back with your criticisms. Or as Twitter participant Clifton Whitley writes: “why doesn’t he protest failing public schools?”
  3. Another area in which “leaders” are failing to take the lead: Saving the urban private and parochial schools — including Catholic schools — that have served many a poor urban child well over the past few decades. I look further at the need for school reformers — especially centrist Democrats — to embrace vouchers alongside charter schools in order to expand choice and high quality instruction for the poorest children in my latest report for The American Spectator. Also, check out my report from December about the efforts by the Archdiocese of Washington to maintain its mission of educating poor and middle class families, Catholic and (more often) non-Catholic alike.
  4. Michael Shaughnessy interviews Rick Hess about the fostering “greenfield” approaches to education reform that move away from traditional school district systems and the underlying infrastructure (teachers unions, best practices) that come with it. Interesting read.
  5. The Journal: Technological Horizons in Education reviews the Obama administration’s plans for the use of technology in education.We know what Tom Vander Ark thinks. I’m still thinking this through: The report is correct in arguing that American public education is in need of an overhaul to fit the needs of the 21st century. I’m all for expanded use of technology in schools in innovative ways, but I also think that technology is no more a lone silver bullet that charters, vouchers or shutting down poor performing schools. Ultimately, it comes down to great teaching and active engagement of children in learning. What are your thoughts?
  6. In Kentucky, the state lower house passed a bill that would require students to stay in school until age 18. This is all well and good. Perhaps the legislature will also get around to passing a law allowing for the authorization of charter schools, which could help improve the quality of education for students.
  7. Off the beaten track: Math can be found in interesting places. Even in one of my five all-time favorite books (along with Anne of Windy Poplars, Parliament of Whores, A Tale of a Tub, and Homicide: Life in the Killing Streets), Alice in Wonderland, according to the New York Times.

Check out the Dropout Nation Podcast this evening; it will be on the next steps President Obama and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan should take with Race to the Top and school reform. Also, read the report this week on the alarming dropout and lack of on-track graduation among male students in Chicago’s public schools (and elsewhere).

And now, for your Sunday pleasure, one of my favorite songs, Come Fly With Me in live form by Sinatra himself:


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Dropout Nation on Twitter for 2010-02-10


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Subscribe to the Dropout Nation Twitter feed and catch up with all the news in education: Michael Shaughnessy interviews Learning Point’s Paul Kimmelman: #edreform #edpolicy #NoChild # In Pa, Inquirer…

Subscribe to the Dropout Nation Twitter feed and catch up with all the news in education:

  • Michael Shaughnessy interviews Learning Point’s Paul Kimmelman: #edreform #edpolicy #NoChild #
  • In Pa, Inquirer reports proposed law would allow dropout factories/failure mills convert into charters: #edreform #
  • Michael Rebell argues #education budget cuts are unconstitutional, fails to consider size of ed budgets: #headshaker #
  • If the largest portion of state and local budgets go to education, then education can’t avoid being cut as well… #
  • Given that the nation spends $528 billion on ed every year — and does it inefficiently (and given low graduation rates, attrociously)… #
  • It is critical to consider how ed budgets should be spent — including reforming teachers compensation — in order to improve ed quality. #
  • RT @huffingtonpost: The New Jim Crow: More African Americans in prison than were enslaved before Civil War #edreform #
  • A few thoughts for today: No matter their race, color or economic class, children just aren’t “theirs” or “ours”… #
  • To paraphrase Wilt Chamberlain, they are all our children and we should do the best possible for them… #
  • The easiest way to stave off an eye for an eye is to follow the Golden Rule. #
  • One Malachi Walker and one Phillip Jackson is equal to 100 Beltway #edreform wonks. Policy w/o grassroots is worthless. And vice versa. #
  • Education isn’t about fostering creativity. It is about giving each child the tools they need in order to improve their lives. #
  • RT @tfanews: A key value for charter schools: No empty promises made to kids #edreform #education #
  • RT @CohenD: Why are teachers skeptical? @KennethLibby FL #RttT app. includes >$400M in contracts for “consultants”: http://j.mp/dAyMU2 #
  • @EnglandinVa: Creativity, in and of itself, can exist without an education (at least the formal kind). But, bringing it back to the… in reply to EnglandinVa #
  • @EnglandinVa classroom, the problem with combining creativity and academic learning is that, more often than not, one the former ends up… in reply to EnglandinVa #
  • @EnglandinVa crowding out the other to the detriment of a student being able to actually master a subject. If a kid can’t master the basics in reply to EnglandinVa #
  • @EnglandinVa he won’t have the skills needed to be creative in ways that are actually productive for sustaining his life. This is especially in reply to EnglandinVa #
  • @EnglandinVa true for poor children, who are coming from bkgds with little academic preparation. As seen in the battle over the use of… in reply to EnglandinVa #
  • @EnglandinVa Discovery math (and in the converse, the basics-focused Singapore math), “creativity” at expense of “learning” can = trouble. in reply to EnglandinVa #
  • @EnglandinVa That said, it’s ultimately, the choice of parents (and children) which road to pick. But policymakers should focus on learning. in reply to EnglandinVa #
  • In NYC, #JoelKlein would be lauded for opening schools during ‘blizzard’. In, DC, #MichelleRhee is pilloried for just thinking about it. #
  • RT @janarausch @EdEquality: #MichelleRhee with piece on ending poverty via #education (Tx @HSequity) #edreform #edgap #
  • New Jersey Left Behind offers some advice to the Garden State’s #NEA affiliate on #teacherpensions #edreform #
  • Dropout Nation Podcast: Now available on Zune marketplace: This week’: civil rights/#edreform: #

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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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