Exit Poll Angers Some SC Voters

Some South Carolina voters are upset over an exit poll they received which referenced race and slavery.

Source: Exit Poll Angers Some SC Voters

SPARTANBURG, SC (Nov. 5, 2014) – Some South Carolina voters are upset over an exit poll they received which referenced race and slavery.

The poll, which was handed out to voters in Charleston, Columbia, Greenville and Spartanburg asked them to agree or disagree on statements on whether blacks don’t work hard enough to advance economically, are too demanding in their pursuit of equal rights and are hindered by the effects of slavery and discrimination.

“I took this poll in Seneca,” wrote Matt Alexander, on the WSPA Facebook page. “I didn’t answer some of the questions. They were overtly racist.”

“I actually thought it was a joke,” wrote Bonnie Lemley. “Apparently, it wasn’t.”

The poll was conducted by David Woodard, a political science professor at Clemson University. Woodard said he was trying to prove that race has no bearing on whether whites vote for political candidates.

“It was designed to take advantage of a political moment of Senator Tim Scott’s election as the first African-American from a southern state since reconstruction,” said Woodard. “It was not designed to be provocative.”

Woodard said the controversial statements mentioned in his polls were used by pollsters for decades and that’s why he chose to include it. He was surprised by the reaction.

“We do this every day. We didn’t think too much about it until we got it out in the field and saw that there was some reaction,” he said.

Woodard partnered with Paul White Jr., a doctoral candidate in political science from University of South Carolina on this project. White handed out polls in Columbia.

“You had liberals getting offended. You had conservatives getting offended. It was all over the place,” said White.

About 1,000 exit polls were handed out. Woodard and White plan to publish the finding in a research paper slated for release in January.


Exit Poll Angers Some SC Voters

CURMUDGUCATION: Did Race To The Top Work?

CURMUDGUCATIONThe slightly-cranky voice navigating the world of educational “reform” while trying to still pursue the mission of providing quality education.

Source: CURMUDGUCATION: Did Race To The Top Work?


Did Race To The Top Work?

Not only is this a real question, but the Department of Education, hand in hand with Mathematica Policy Research and American Institutes for Research, just released a 267-page answer of sorts. Race to the Top: Implementation and Relationship to Student Outcomes is a monstrous creature, and while this is usually the part where I say I’ve read it so you don’t have to, I must confess that I’ve only kind of skimmed it. But what better way to spend a Saturday morning than reviewing this spirited inquiry into whether or not a multi-billion-dollar government program was successful in hitting the wrong target (aka getting higher scores on a narrow, poorly-designed standardized reading and math tests).
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CURMUDGUCATION: Are High Standards Leading To Better Outcomes?

CURMUDGUCATIONThe slightly-cranky voice navigating the world of educational “reform” while trying to still pursue the mission of providing quality education.

Source: CURMUDGUCATION: Are High Standards Leading To Better Outcomes?

Are High Standards Leading To Better Outcomes?

The Collaborative for Student Success was created to help push the Common Core State Standards, and it remains devoted to that goal, proudly announcing “The Results Are In: High Standards Are Leading to Better Outcomes,” a headline we can take just about as seriously as a headline from the Ford PR department announcing that the new Ford Taurus Is Awesome!

CSS is an astro-turf advocacy group, a group built with money from the usual suspects to push the Core on the rest of us. The list of funders includes the Broad Foundation, ExxonMobile, the Helmsley Charitable Trust, and, of course, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Its website lists it as a project of the New Venture Fund, a group funded by Gates to support the Core “through comprehensive and targeted communications and advocacy.” You can check out more connectionscourtesy of the indispensable Mercedes Schneider, but you get the general gist– these guys exists only to try to convince us all that the Core are wonderful.

This, of course, does not mean that they cannot possibly say True Things, so while we have to view these Results that are In with a suspicious eye, we can still evaluate their actual merits, if any.

The Results are pretty much meaningless, or possibly alarming. Here’s the main claim:

Among third grade students – students whose entire academic careers have been guided by high standards – math scores increased by more than three percentage points.  

Let me rephrase that just a bit.

Among third graders– students whose entire academic careers have been spent taking and prepping for the Big Standardized Test and who have never known a school that was not organized around testing– math scores were better than they were for students who only had two, one, or zero years to be prepped and practiced for taking the BS Test.

There. Fixed that for you.

Delaware Governor Jack Markell, New Mexico Secretary of Ed Hanna Skandera, and CSS Executive Director Jim Cowen lined up to try to sell this big, fat nothingburger.

“Success in this economy requires a higher level of training and skill development than ever,” Delaware’s Gov. Jack Markell remarked in a press event on Tuesday…

Note that Markell just reduced the purpose of education to simple job training. Then note that at no point in the press conference do any of these worthies make any meaningful connection between greater skills and higher scores on a standardized test. Are they suggesting that the ability to score well on a standardized math test is a skill that’s highly valued in the workplace? Because I’m betting not so much.

The big lie in the headline is the phrase “better outcomes,” because there is only one outcome, and that is higher score on a narrow standardized test, an outcome which is largely meaningless. The almost-as-big lie in the headline is that these higher test scores are the result of “higher” standards when the most likely explanation is that students more saturated in test prep and practice tend to score higher on that test.

But the biggest omission in this piece of PR fluffery is an examination of the cost.

So we got third graders to score a few points higher on the test. What did it cost us to do that? Not just financial costs, though I’m sure there were plenty of those. But other costs as well– how much recess was sacrificed, how many hours of art or music or phys ed or science or play? How much time was spent trying to get small children to stop enjoying themselves and sit down at a desk to learn test-taking skills? How much time was spent instilling a sense of anxiety about the tests so that the students would be more likely to actually try? How much less joyful and interesting were those first years of school, and how big a price will these students pay in the coming years for the new kind of relationships forged with school, in which the main point of school is to get ready for the test so that they can produce the scores that the school needs them to produce? And yes– all the money spent on new materials and new training and the tests themselves, all the money that couldn’t be spent on other things that might have benefited the students.

So we got third graders to score a few points higher on the Big Standardized Test. So what? What proven benefit will that earn them? What other outcomes can be shown to come from that single, small outcome? And what have they sacrificed and lost in pursuit of this tiny, meaningless “victory”?

Does Gun Violence Affect Urban Economic Trends? The Urban Institute Says ‘Yes.’

Over the years, the Urban Institute has published some significant research on gun violence, I’m thinking, for example, of the study they published in 2014 which examined the medical costs of gun injuries.  And now they have come out with a new report which attempts to analyze the cost of gun violence with reference to business and employment trends in three cities – Minneapolis, Oakland and Washington, D.C.

urban            Trying to figure out the effects of gun violence by counting the number of people killed or injured with guns is easy; understanding how gun violence affects neighborhood quality of life is a much more difficult task, primarily because socio-economic changes in any community are influenced by so many variables that it’s always risky to assign primary cause to one issue like gun violence or anything else. And the authors of this study are aware of this problem and also note…

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Instead of Building More Charter Schools for the Few, Improve Public Education for All


Roland S. Martin is a journalist and the host and managing editor of TV One’s News One Now. For years he has promoted market-based school choice. He recently moderated a town hall, “Is School Choice the Black Choice?” at Howard University. All the while Martin has been promoting school choice, Dr. John Jackson and the Schott Foundation for Public Education (of which John Jackson is the President and CEO) have instead made the case for closing opportunity gaps in the public schools as the responsibility of a just society.  Here in a short, two-minute video from the Howard University town hall, is John Jackson, challenging Martin’s “false narrative” that public schools have failed the African American community. I urge you to watch the short video.

The town hall at Howard University followed the adoption last month of a resolution by the NAACP, the nation’s oldest civil rights…

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Bill Gates backs climate denier Judge David Larson for Washington State Supreme Court position

Bill Gates backs climate denier Judge David Larson for Washington State Supreme Court position
by seattleducation2010
Gates is so blinded by his desire to have charter schools in our state that he doesn’t seem to be concerned with the qualifications of an individual who will potentially participate in setting policy affecting education in in his home state. The Washington State Supreme Court made the decision that charter schools are unconstitutional in […]

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seattleducation2010 | November 1, 2016 at 9:57 AM | Tags: Bill Gates, Paul Allen, Washington State Supreme Court, Judge David Larson, Supreme Court Judge Charles Wiggins, Steve and Connie Ballmer, Federal Way School Board, An Inconvenient Truth | Categories: Bill Gates, Washington State Supreme Court | URL: http://wp.me/pNbRQ-6bj

Seattle Education

dave-larson Municipal Judge David Larson

Gates is so blinded by his desire to have charter schools in our state that he doesn’t seem to be concerned with the qualifications of an individual who will potentially participate in setting policy affecting education in in his home state.

The Washington State Supreme Court made the decision that charter schools are unconstitutional in Washington State but Mr. Gates and others are determined to privatize the state’s public school system by any means.

Supreme Court Judge Charles Wiggins is one of the judges who decided in favor of the plaintiffs who challenged the constitutionality of charter schools in Washington State.

Bill Gates, Paul Allen along with Steve and Connie Ballmer, all major contributors to the charter school campaign, Initiative 1240, have contributed over $500,000 as of last week to the Political Action Committee (PAC) called Citizens for Working Courts Enterprise Washington to defeat Judge…

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Writer’s Weekend Resources and Writing as Rebellion

Here’s to finding your moments of contentment, leaning closer to the truths in your stories, and fighting crazy with crazy (especially in the month of November!).
Jamie Lee Wallace Hi. I’m Jamie. I am a content writer and branding consultant, columnist, sometime feature writer, prolific blogger, and aspiring fiction writer. I’m a mom, a student of equestrian arts, and a nature lover. I believe in small kindnesses, daily chocolate, and happy endings. Introduce yourself on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest. I don’t bite … usually.

Photo Credit: mermaid_crystal Flickr via Compfight cc

This post originally appeared on the Live to Write – Write to Live blog.

Suddenly Jamie (@suddenlyjamie) | November 6, 2016 at 5:28 am | Categories: resources, Sunday Shareworthy | URL: http://wp.me/pUTUc-4w3

Live to Write - Write to Live

dark-mermaidI had forgotten what it feels like to sit down at the keyboard with a steaming mug of tea to my right and a purring feline curled up in the cat bed to my left, to watch as a world of my own devising opens up in front of me on the modest screen of my aging MacBook.

Though I spend hours and hours each day sitting in this same spot, it doesn’t feel anything like this. The vast majority of my time at the keyboard is spent stringing words together for other people. Day in and day out, I work diligently on brand messaging and website copy and ebooks and blog posts; but it’s not at all the same as sitting here with the prospect of creating something unique and wholly mine.

There is something rebellious about writing. As storytellers, we get to recreate the world as we like…

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We Will Soon Discover Exactly How Racist America Is



Photo Courtesy of Daily Beast

When the votes come pouring in on Tuesday evening many Americans will be awaiting breathlessly whether their candidate will win… Both sides see their candidate as the only possible avenue down which this nation can continue.

But there are bigger data dumps which can be mined from all this data.  Elections are our only method to determine how America thinks or feels every 4 years.  Polls can be skewed. But the election is real…

The Republican candidate has done a lot to strip down his candidacy to one of racism.  He has no economic plan. He has no insurance plan. He has no plan to fight Isis. He has no military strategy, he has nothing else to say, except to rail against others.. in fact all others who are not exactly like him.. be it gender, racial, or religious… If you are not like him…

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CURMUDGUCATION: Digital Natives Are Lost

CURMUDGUCATIONThe slightly-cranky voice navigating the world of educational “reform” while trying to still pursue the mission of providing quality education.

Source: CURMUDGUCATION: Digital Natives Are Lost

Digital Natives Are Lost

I have had this conversation a thousand thousand times with people of my own generation, people who don’t actually work with students. They will be going on about their own computer illiteracy and waxing rhapsodic about the super-duper skills of the young generation, the digital natives.

“You don’t understand,” I’ll tell them. “The vast majority of my students don’t know jack about modern technology. They know how to operate one or two apps that they use regularly. Beyond that, they are as lost as their own grandparents.”

And now there is research to back me up.

At EdWeek, Sam Wineburg and Sarah McGrew report on their own research at Stanford as well as research by folks at Northwestern.

In the Northwestern study, college students turned out to believe that Google lists links in the order of accuracy and trustworthiness– good news for all those people making a living optimizing websites for search ranking, and bad news for everyone wishes people would stop using the internet to make themselves stupider.

Stanford’s study involved several different tests; the results of all were depressing.

At every level, we were taken aback by students’ lack of preparation: middle school students unable to tell the difference between an advertisement and a news story; high school students taking at face value a cooked-up chart from the Minnesota Gun Owners Political Action Committee; college students credulously accepting a .org top-level domain name as if it were a Good Housekeeping seal.

In a particularly alarming exercise, twenty-five Stanford students (as Wineburg and McGrew point out, a super-selective group from a university that rejects 95% of its applicants) could not tell the difference between the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Pediatricians. The first is a legitimate professional organization and the second is a fringe group that ties homosexuality to pedophilia and made the Southern Poverty Law Center hate group list. More than half of the students determined that the hate group was “more reliable” as a source.

None of this surprises me. My students are adept at operating their favorite apps and can managed the backwater sites that are now out of favor (Facebook? Puh-lease!) They can play whatever game is big at the moment (as near as I can tell phone games have about a two-week life). But not only do they not make very good use of the internet as a ready source of information, both factual and craptaculous, it doesn’t even occur to them to look things up in the first place. I find this crazy maddening– my curiosity has been an itch that I couldn’t reach for much of my life, and now modern tech means I can carry a long backscratcher with me everywhere. And yet, I am regularly responding to student questions with, “Gee, if only there were a way to quickly access all collected human knowledge.” And I teach, minds you, at a one-to-one school– every single one of my students has access to at least one computer device.

Fifteen years ago, I had students who could design a website from scratch, writing their own code and design work. No longer. This is not an abnormal progression. Early adopters of new-fangled automobiles had to be prepared for and capable of doing their own mechanical work to keep the vehicle functioning. Within a generation or two, being a gearhead had become a pastime for a select few. Fast forward to today, when some automotive systems cannot be worked on except with specialized training and tools. Making technology more accessible and usable (and therefor marketable) means freeing the user from any need to do maintenance and repair.

But instead of a communication or transportation system, we’re now doing this with an information system, and we have a problem that parallels a mistake found in some education programs. Some policy makers and edubiz folks are trying to push a model of reading that treats it as a group of discrete skills, decoding tricks that are independent of what the words actually say. But reading cannot be separated from content; how well you can read is inextricably tied to what you know. And how well you can research and filter the research you find is inextricably tied to what you know.

There are skills we can teach. The EdWeek piece says that good fact-checkers do three things that help:

1) When facing an unfamiliar site, leave it and find out from other sources if it’s reliable or worthwhile. Far better than going ahead and reading the site itself.

2) Same idea– don’t depend on the site’s own “about,” because no site has a page in which it explains why it’s actually full of baloney. Not on purpose.

3) Ignore the search engine ordering results.

And that’s before we even get to effective search methods. The majority of my students make truly bizarre use of Dr. Google with a grab-bag of random search terms and no awareness that there are tools for narrowing the search.

But beyond those (and other) simple check techniques, you have to actually Know Something. If you want to know if the painting in your attic is worth a million dollars or a buck and a half, you have to talk to someone who actually knows the difference. Talking about 21st Century Skills as if they aren’t tied directly to knowledge is bunk.

Meanwhile, folks who think “Let the students go on the net and educate themselves” is a plan must be unfamiliar with both students and the internet. Just as lots of natural-born citizens of the USA could not pass the citizenship test if their lives depended on it, many digital natives have never tried to explore, understand, or make sense of the tech landscape into which they’ve been born. We really need to do better– I’d suggest we get at it before the next election rolls around.