CURMUDGUCATION: Make Ed Reporting Reporting Again

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

Source: CURMUDGUCATION: Make Ed Reporting Reporting Again


Make Ed Reporting Reporting Again

Posted by Peter Greene: 19 Nov 2016 12:08 PM PST

Alexander Russo has used the recent bout of reportorial navel gazing about the role of journalism (or the lack thereof) in the last election as an opportunity to ask if education reporting can also use a bit of a reboot. He has four specific recommendations which are worth considering, but I think he missed the hugest one of all.

Mike Pence Will Be the Most Powerful Christian Supremacist in U.S. History

While Trump has flip-flopped on a variety of issues, Pence has been a reliable stalwart in the cause of Christian jihad — never wavering in his commitment to America-First militarism, the criminalizing of abortion, and utter hatred for gay people.

Source: Mike Pence Will Be the Most Powerful Christian Supremacist in U.S. History

As the Trump administration takes shape, the 2016 election’s fateful consequences are coming into sharper focus every day. Jeremy Scahill took a deep dive into Vice President-elect Mike Pence’s Christian supremacist roots, highlighting his connections to a religious-right movement poised to exercise more power than ever before.

Read more here:

The NSA’s Spy Hub in New York, Hidden in Plain Sight

The NSA has operated a top-secret surveillance program out of an iconic AT&T building in Manhattan, documents indicate.

Source: The NSA’s Spy Hub in New York, Hidden in Plain Sight

The looming, windowless structure at 33 Thomas Street — known as the “Long Lines Building” — has been a source of mystery for New Yorkers for years, with little information available about what is happening inside. Until now. In an exclusive report, The Intercept presented compelling evidence — including documents provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden — that the NSA has used the iconic skyscraper as a listening post. The investigation was a collaboration with Field of Vision, which just premiered “Project X,” a short film by Henrik Moltke and Laura Poitras.

Read more here:

State officials in memo to school leaders: ‘We need to stand together’

The memo says that waiting for an incident to happen is not acceptable

Source: State officials to school leaders: ‘We need to stand together’

The heads of the Michigan education department and the civil rights department are urging school leaders, teachers, parents and school staff to condemn post-election harassment or intimidation “regardless of message or motivation,” and not wait for incidents to happen.

The memo was sent this afternoon by State Superintendent Brian Whiston, who heads the Michigan Department of Education, and Agustin Arbulu, the director of the Michigan Department of Civil Rights.

Post-election incidents in schools have raised concerns about harassment and bullying, Whiston said during a meeting of the State Board of Education today. On Monday, Whiston himself issued a statement that said schools must be safe havens that are free from hate, intimidation, bullying and fear.

“We are concerned that students and parents may be hearing mixed messages,” Whiston and Arbulu said in the memo. “Each of us must clearly and consistently convey the message that bullying, harassment, violence, property destruction or any other form of intimidation have no place in our schools.”

Since the election last week of president-elect Donald Trump, there have been cases of bullying and intimidation in some schools, including an incident in which students in Royal Oak chanted “build the wall” and reports of students in DeWitt locking arms to block the path of minority students. Also a Birmingham teacher is under investigation for posting negative comments about Trump supporters on social media.

Read the full story here:

ESSA: Learning from the Past | National Education Policy Center

Key Takeaway: In order for ESSA to achieve significant equity-minded improvements, state-level policymakers must be willing to significantly depart from NCLB practices and norms.

BOULDER, CO (November 17, 2016) – Motivated out of strong concerns about the shortcomings and federal overreach of the No Child Left Behind law, supporters of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) enthusiastically embraced it as a suitable replacement. Yet, the new legislation maintains a predominately test-based accountability system with a federal mandate for interventions in well over five thousand public schools every year.

In a brief released today, Lessons from NCLB for the Every Student Succeeds Act, William J. Mathis of the University of Colorado Boulder and Tina Trujillo of the University of California Berkeley draw primarily from their book, Learning from the Federal Market-Based Reforms: Lessons for the Every Student Succeeds Act, to offer recommendations on how states and districts can most effectively implement the statute.

The brief comes at a key moment in our national affairs. In light of the recent election results, it is imperative that education agencies understand what evidence-based strategies they can use to preserve the institution of public education, and to limit efforts to privatize elements of their systems. This brief details how policymakers can do that.

ESSA continues to disaggregate data by race, wealth, English learner status, and special needs status (and adds new sub-groups), but the law and the anticipated appropriations show little promise of remedying the systemic under-resourcing of needy students. That is, the focus remains on measuring and holding accountable, as opposed to providing the resources needed to close opportunity gaps. Students’ opportunities to learn inside and outside of schools depend on addressing the economic bifurcation in the nation and in the schools.

Mathis and Trujillo offer more than a dozen comprehensive recommendations for state policymakers on both broad and focused implementation issues. Here are five of the most significant:

Above all else, each state must ensure that students have adequate opportunities, funding and resources to achieve state goals. Funds must be available in an equitable manner and must be sufficient to meet students’ needs. Schools and school personnel must not be evaluated on elements where they are denied the resources and supports they need to be successful.
Under ESSA, school performance will now be measured using a system that incorporates one or more non-academic indicators—chosen separately by each state. These non-academic indicators provide states their strongest new tool for maximizing educational equity and opportunity and bringing attention to the nation’s broader educational purposes.
States and districts must collaborate with social service and labor departments to ensure adequate personal, social and economic opportunities. Without a livable wage and adequate support services, social problems will be manifest in the schools. Public and private schools must adopt assignment policies and practices that ensure integration and that disperse pockets of poverty.
Charter schools should not be expanded, and state caps on their approval should be reduced. On average, charter schools do not perform at higher levels than public schools, yet they segregate, remain prone to fiscal mismanagement, and often have opaque management and accountability.
States should establish, develop, train and implement school visitation teams that address both quantitative and qualitative factors. Sites most in need of improvement should be prioritized. Standardized test scores can be validly used to establish initial priorities.
Find Lessons from NCLB for the Every Student Succeeds Act, by William J. Mathis and Tina M. Trujillo, on the web at:

Find the book Learning from the Federal Market-Based Reforms, by William J. Mathis and Tina M. Trujillo, at

When ordering the book, use discount code LFMBR 30350.

The National Education Policy Center (NEPC), housed at the University of Colorado Boulder School of Education, produces and disseminates high-quality, peer-reviewed research to inform education policy discussions. Visit us at:

Source: ESSA: Learning from the Past | National Education Policy Center

From a McClatchy DC report: Trump’s school choice expansion plan may face uphill battle 

Associated Press
School voucher programs in the nation’s capital and Vice President-elect Mike Pence’s home state of Indiana could serve as a blueprint for a Trump administration plan to use public money to enable disadvantaged students to attend the public or private school of their choice.

President-elect Donald Trump made clear that school choice would be an education priority.

When Trump spoke at a Cleveland charter school in September, he pledged to funnel $20 billion in existing federal dollars into scholarships for low-income students. That idea would require approval from Congress, which last year passed a bipartisan overhaul of No Child Left Behind and is unlikely to alter it in the near future. Still, there are smaller-scale ways Trump could reshape public education.

A first step might be…

Read more here:

Source: Trump’s school choice expansion plan may face uphill battle | McClatchy DC

Michigan’s Pearson Professional Readiness Exam earning poor grades

HOUGHTON — The Pearson Professional Readiness Exam (PRE) is a basic skills test all aspiring teachers in Michigan must pass in order to complete their teaching certification. The PRE, however, has come under increasing fire since it was implemented in 2013. The test is responsible for poor pass rates across Michigan teacher program institutions. Michigan Technological University is one of just two Michigan universities that maintains a pass rate average of over 50 percent.

Opposition to the exam has found its way onto the online petition website, where signatures are being sought to force the state to replace the PRE. The petition was initiated by the Michigan Conference on English Education (MCEE).

Since being introduced three years ago, the test has created a teacher shortage in the state, according to the MCEE.

“Over the past three years, the state of Michigan has seen a dramatic drop in the number of students in our undergraduate and graduate teacher education programs: institutions in Michigan saw a 22 percent decline in 2014, according to the U.S. Department of Education,” the petition states.

At Michigan Tech’s Cognitive and Learning Sciences Department, Shari Stockero, director of teacher education, agrees.

“There’s data across the state (that says) it is keeping good people out of teacher ed programs,” she said. “We’re actually starting to see a teacher shortage now in some areas. For a long time, Michigan was exporting a lot of teachers, but we’re actually seeing a teacher shortage in some areas of the state now, because we’re not getting people to come into the programs anymore.”

The MCEE, in its petition, further argued that, “The PRE is not a good way to assess potential teachers, particularly in the field of writing.”

Stockero has seen this same problem at Michigan Tech…

Read more here: Michigan’s Pearson Professional Readiness Exam earning poor grades | News, Sports, Jobs – The Mining Gazette

Professors need more education to teach high school courses 

HOUGHTON — Critics of Michigan’s teaching licensing requirements claim  the state needs to re-examine its policies.

Tom Gantert, for one, dislikes Michigan’s strict teacher certification requirements, because they preclude college professors from teaching on the high school level.

According to Gantert’s online article on the Michigan Capitol Confidential website titled, “Ph.D. Not Good Enough, Professor: You Still Can’t Teach in Detroit Schools,”Christopher Douglas cannot teach at a high school.

Douglas, an associate professor and the chairman of the Department of Economics at the University of Michigan-Flint, teaches six classes. He has undergraduate degrees in electrical engineering and economics from Michigan Technological University, as well as a doctorate in economics from Michigan State University.

The article states that Douglas has said he would have to complete additional coursework and also pass the Michigan Test for Teacher Certification to teach at a public high school in Michigan.

Shari Stockero, director of teacher education at Michigan Technological University’s Cognitive and Learning Sciences Department, said there are practical reasons for that.

“Universities have never required teaching licenses. Michigan Tech is the same way,” Stockero said. “We’re a research university, and people are very knowledgeable about their subject areas, but they don’t necessarily have teacher training.”

While doctorate-degreed professors possess the knowledge required to teach high school-level classes, they might not have the education training to impart that knowledge on younger minds.

“Because you have knowledge — it’s not just about knowing your content,” Stockero said. “You have to know about students’ development and how they learn this content. I don’t know what the state’s argument is, but I would guess with younger learners it’s probably more critical, because they don’t know how to regulate self-learning at that point. (College students) are adults now, and they’re more able to do that.”

Source: Professors need more education to teach high school courses | News, Sports, Jobs – The Mining Gazette

CURMUDGUCATION: The Faux Progressive Polka

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

Source: CURMUDGUCATION: The Faux Progressive Polka


The Faux Progressive Polka

Posted by Peter Greene: 18 Nov 2016 06:23 AM PST

It has always been one of the curiosities of the reformster movement– the insistence that they are Progressives  and Democrats, while they have embraced and pushed policies linked to the privatization of public education.

How could it be that Bush II’s ed policy could flow seamlessly into Obama’s? How could it be that Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton saw each other as simpatico when it came to education?

The answer, of course, is that… (folow this link to find out!)

One Nation rising: Rove-linked group goes from no revenue to more than $10 million in 2015 | OpenSecrets Blog

Dark Money groups in 2016 used legal loopholes to avoid disclosing spending (and their donors) to the FEC. One such group, One Nation, managed to spend about $40 million over the course of the cycle, but only reported $3.4 million.

One of the most active groups in the 2016 cycle wasn’t a super PAC — though those were plenty busy — but a 501(c)(4) social welfare organization, One Nation. From mid-2015 through 2016, the group spent about $40 million in a largely successful push to protect the GOP’s fragile majority in the Senate.

And it did so without disclosing a single donor to the public.

Read more here: One Nation rising: Rove-linked group goes from no revenue to more than $10 million in 2015 | OpenSecrets Blog