Anti-Tenure – Union Busting FIRST, Students Second

Originally posted on Daniel Katz, Ph.D.:

One consequence of becoming active in social media and blogging is crossing paths with people that you would not normally encounter face to face.  For example, among my normal Twitter feed comprised of classroom teachers, public school advocates, researchers and news sources, a certain gentleman was noticeably involved in several arguments.  Shortly thereafter, he began following me on Twitter.  His name is Dmitri Mehlhorn, and he is a former C.O.O. for Michelle Rhee’s Students First organization, and suffice to say: he is a true believer in current education “reforms”.  When Rhee announced that she was stepping down as the head of Students First, Mr. Mehlhorn penned this astonishing piece of apologia for The Daily Beast on her behalf, which despite saying she was “right about everything” cannot really name a measurable outcome of Ms. Rhee’s activism that has improved education.  Mostly, he spends the article lamenting the attacks…

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Beware the Charter Attrition Game

Originally posted on Diane Ravitch's blog:

The media loves the story of miracle schools. Imagine that! A school where 90% or more pass the state tests! Where 100% graduate. Where 100% are accepted into four-year colleges. Michael Klonsky once said to me, miracles happen only in the Bible. When the subject is schools, miracle claims should be carefully investigated.

With that caution and skepticism in mind, we turn again to a post by a researcher who works for the New York City Department of Education and must remain anonymous. This is the same researcher who chastised the media for ignoring attrition rates at Eva Moskowitz’s Success Academy schools. In posting that article, I failed to capture the links to documentation (a terrible oversight, I admit). I include his/her links at the bottom of this article.

Ed Reformers Are Most Like (a) Pinocchio (b) Beavis:
Getting to the Bottom of the Reformer Distaste for Honest Analysis

My…

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Texas: Business Complains About Schools

Originally posted on Diane Ravitch's blog:

In a recent article in the Houston Chrinicle, we read that business is mighty disappointed in the schools. They say they aren’t getting the trained employees they need. They think the schools are too easy. Some want more money spent in the schools that do well, as a reward.

No one seems to care that the Legislature slashed $5.3 Billion from the schools in 2011 and–despite a good economy–never restored it.

Here’s a challenge for those Texas businessmen who claim they can’t find workers because of the schools. Visit your local school. Spend a few days there. Ask them about their needs. Take the high school math test. Publish your scores.

If public schools are “failing,” find out who cut the budget and insist that it be restored as soon as possible. Nobody gets healthier on a starvation diet.

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A College Professor Teaches History in High School

drext727:

This is a must read.

Originally posted on Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice:

Not a “man bites dog” media story for sure, but university professors who willingly choose to teach at a high school for a semester or a year, well, that does cause a few heads to turn. Previous posts I have published (see here for a math professor and here for an education professor) raise similar issues to what this history professor learned by teaching for a semester at Taylor Allderdice High School in Pittsburgh (PA).

I have now been at Allderdice for five months, long enough to see sharp differences between high school and university teaching situations. From the very beginning the sharpest contrast has been in the physical environment and pace. Allderdice crowds into one building 3,200 students while [my university] has about 1,400 spread over 80 acres. The only room available at Allderdice for quiet study is a chemistry storeroom. At [my university] I share an
offiice the…

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“Effective” Teachers Fleeing Houston Because of Flawed VAM

Originally posted on Diane Ravitch's blog:

Audrey Amrein-Beardsley reports that highly rated teachers are leaving the Houston public schools because of the erratic EVAAS measure. Seven teachers are suing the district based on its erratic measure.

In this post, she tells the story of a teacher with 15 years experience who prefers teaching in high-needs schools.

“The one teacher highlighted in this piece, “holds a mathematics degree from the University of Houston, has taught all levels of high school mathematics for 15 years…and has repeatedly pursued assignments in high-needs schools with large Latino populations. While administrators, parents and peers have consistently rated him as a highly effective teacher, his EVAAS scores have varied wildly. While at [one district high school], he earned one of the highest EVAAS scores and year-end bonuses possible. Two years ago, teaching the same subject at [another high school] he received a below-average EVAAS score.” This teacher decided to leave the…

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Florida: Teacher Evaluation System Is So Flawed That No One Can Explain It

Originally posted on Diane Ravitch's blog:

This editorial from the Tampa Bay Times was published in March, but I just discovered it and wanted to share it. Unlike the editorial writers in many other cities, the Tampa Bay Times went beyond the press releases and self-serving statements of public officials.

They pointed out that the ratings had a margin of error of 50%. “That means it is useless. Still, the state intends to base half of a teacher’s performance evaluation, and future pay, on this absurdity.

“As Tampa Bay Times staff writers Lisa Gartner and Cara Fitzpatrick reported, the state’s flawed system rates some of the region’s most honored teachers as low performers. Hillsborough County teacher of the year Patrick Boyko, a social studies teacher at Jefferson High School, scored a minus 10.23 percent, with a margin of error above 50 percent. Translation? His students scored 10 percent worse on the FCAT than typical children across…

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Because You Matter

It was ages ago. I was in the throws of a hellish middle school experience. A brushed-out perm, pink 80s glasses, and extra fluff around the middle don’t get a kid far at 13. It should also be said that being the no-filter-ADHD-please-like-me girl ushered me into the that kid status.

I spent afternoons laying on my bed, listening to Sinead O’Conner (probably not the smartest move for a depressed soul), staring up at the window above my headboard, watching the light dance through the blinds. Full Article

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