The Roundup

Education Post takes a quick look at blogs, commentary and analysis from across the edu-sphere. To get these items in your inbox every afternoon, subscribe to the Roundup email.

Data May Now Determine Which Teacher Prep Programs Gain Approval

Jackie Mader at The Hechinger Report writes about a report from Bellwether Education Partners indicating that data on teacher prep grads will soon lead to consequences for some programs and that more states are tying teacher data back to teacher preparation. She also indicates in the piece that it’s likely that more states will begin to consider this data, whether or not it included in the DOE’s new regulations.

Researchers are still debating how to track results and define a successful preparation program,” wrote the authors of the report. “But preparation programs will never be able to improve unless states track their results.

The Conversation This Teacher of the Year Is Tired of Not Having

Nate Bowling is not only the 2016 Teacher of the Year for the state of Washington but he’s also one of four finalists for National Teacher of the Year. He has written a piece for his blog, A Teacher’s Evolving Mind, that will stop you in your tracks because of how painfully true it is. The Conversation I’m Tired of Not Having is a must-read.

Ask yourself, would suburban schools ever be allowed to decay like what we saw in Detroit? Nope. What’s happening in Detroit could never happen in Auburn Hills; what’s happening in Chicago could never happen in Evanston; what’s happening in South Seattle could never happen in Issaquah or Bellevue. Middle-class America would never allow the conditions that have become normalized in poor and brown America to stand for their kids.

EdBuild: Our Focus is Funding

Matt Barnum at The Seventy Four highlights the arrival of a new organization to the Education scene focused entirely on school funding, more specifically, state funding. EdBuild doesn’t find itself on either “side” of the education war; it simply wants smarter and better funding for schools.

EdBuild’s mission is seemingly simple: “to bring more common sense and fairness to the way we fund schools.” Sibilia says that objective has already evolved, focusing on the state —  rather than the local — level.

Elite Colleges say they’ll change admissions criterion but will they really?

Meredith Kolodner of The Hechinger Report asks some very important questions about the Turning the Tide released out of Harvard and endorsed by 56 top colleges and universities. The well intentioned report hopes to bring about changes in a college admissions process that seems to create high levels of stress and anxiety for affluent applicants and essentially leaves out students from low income families. Kolodner questions, however, whether the report will actually lead to meaningful change.

“Many colleges have a required minimum ACT or SAT scores to even have your application read. Has that changed? You’re either using it or not using it as a gatekeeper.”

What About Due Process for Children?

Students Matter has launched a new feature at its website, ‘Voices of Vergara’, where you can hear parents, teachers, school leaders, school board members, and community members from all over Califoria reflect on what the Vergara case really means to them and the people in their lives.

“Vergara vs. California is built on the simple and undeniable premise that every child — regardless of background — deserves a quality education.”       —Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa Los Angeles

Some Advice for Opening Those Community Schools in NYC

Karim Abouelnaga, founder and CEO of Practice Makes Perfect, an evidence-based, full-service summer school provider for K-8 schools, has grave concerns about NYC Mayor DeBlasio and NY Governor Cuomo’s plans around community schools. He worries that millions of dollars could be wasted unless more expertise, adequate support, and plans for productive interventions firmly in place.

Now is not the time for trial and error. We need to see positive results in our community schools. Simply throwing money at problems does not solve them. If you have students who can’t count to 10, and you throw $100 at them, do they magically learn how to count to 10? No. We need to design programs that will teach them how to count to 10.

The Multi-Classroom Leader Just May Be the New Department Chair, Except Better

Erin Burns, a multi-classroom leader at West Charlotte High School, writes at Real Clear Ed Education the ninth in a series of monthly pieces by teachers participating in the Opportunity Culture initiative, a movement launched in 2011 by education policy and consulting firm Public Impact. These Opportunity Culture models “are aimed at improving the quality of education by extending the reach of excellent teachers and their teams, to encourage teacher selectivity, increase opportunities for teachers to advance in their careers without leaving the classroom, promote on-the-job learning, and boost teacher pay — all within regular budgets.”

Teachers may have articulated brilliant lessons during meetings, but I had no idea—and definitely no authority to see—what they actually looked like behind closed doors. As their MCL, I pop in daily to see my teachers in action.

If It Looks Like a Duck and Quacks Like a Duck … Who Cares What It’s Called?

Justin Cohen, an education writer currently working on his first book, highlights the political silliness around what to call K-12 school standards. As Republicans run from the now toxic ‘Common Core’ brand,  he points out that states who claim to have “eliminated” Common Core have actually not done much more than change the name. Additionally, Cohen questions the wisdom of states burdening taxpayers to make a politically expedient change that really isn’t a change at all.

As other states look to make a political point of abandoning standards – like the voters in Massachusetts will opine on this fall – it’s worth considering the actual cost to taxpayers of going through the kabuki theater entailed in replacing six of one with a half a dozen of another.

New York Teacher Wonders if Losing Friedrichs May Actually Result in Better Unions

Mark Anderson is a special education teacher and coordinator at a district middle school in the Bronx. He is also a teacher leader with the Viva Project, an organization working to bring more teacher voice to education policy decisions. Anderson has written a piece about the Friedrichs case in which he wonders if a loss for the unions may actually make them better.

Increasing disengagement presents a large problem for unions, especially as our economy and workforce undergoes increasingly volatile shifts. And let’s be honest–most unions haven’t demonstrated the greatest sense of urgency in trying to adapt to changing conditions.

You Have to Be Effing Crazy

Dirk Tillotson is the founder and executive director of the nonprofit Great Schools Choices and blogs at The Silent Majority. He has penned a profound piece, “So You Want to Start a Charter School,” in which he dispels common myths and explains how hard it is to open a new school. He should know. He’s played a role in the opening of 20 schools. And though the work is brutal, he sees the consequences of not doing it as being far worse.

You have to be Effing crazy.  I should know.  I have helped folks start schools for 20 years.  I run a school incubator, and that line about being crazy is the opening and closing line of my introductory training.  And I am serious.


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