September 1, 2015

Common Core Not So Common (Or Understood), New Schools!, Old Rankings Gaming, Student Debt, BW Trainings, And Dep’t Of Ed Innovation. Plus Lake V. Hill!

By Bellwether

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It is really breaking news, or news at all, that the comparability aspect of Common Core isn’t happening? Wasn’t that kind of obvious when there were two testing consortia started to develop new tests, then states peeled out of the consortia, and then other vendors began offering off-the-shelf or customized solutions several years ago? In other news, Americans won’t land on the moon in 2015…More interesting is what happens now going forward with the assessments for Common Core, the marketplace more generally, and the possibility of lighter touch, less time-consuming assessments. I want to read about that!

Speaking of Common Core, Rick Hess would have a stronger point here if multiple surveys didn’t show that a lot of people are misinformed about the Common Core (and that shouldn’t surprise, it’s par for the course with most policy issues and it would be unusual if it were not the case here). And while reasonable people can disagree on the policy and its related features there is clearly some distortion about what Common Core is and is not in the political debate here. He’s right about some of the rhetoric, of course, and the scale of the change, but it’s not so cut and dry.

This charter school design challenge in Indy is a powerful initiative and exactly the kind of effort to help ensure a real diversity in school offerings rather than six flavors of vanilla. Fellowships, too*.  More on new school models from New Schools* in a new report out today (pdf).

Keep an eye out for announcements on Bellwether blog trainings for education bloggers, we’re planning two in the next year.

Very smart Robin Lake v. Paul Hill on charter school backfills*.

Stephen Burd calls bs on test score optional colleges – spoiler alert, it’s about selectivity in the rankings…And Dynarski does the same on the student debt numbers. This is an ongoing problem and a weird marriage of statistical illiteracy and the appetite for a crisis narrative.

Last Friday I wrote at USN about how all the work in New Orleans is not being done by outsiders.

It seems like the 4th graf from the bottom of this piece on the new ed tech evaluation effort at the Department of Education is underdeveloped…Latest in our regular feature here: Student surveys have a lot of promise.

Last week Neerav Kingsland discovered the sector he’s working in, today Morgan Polikoff does. I’m all for lively debates, that’s part of what drives progress, and in education there are plenty of unsettled issues from an empirical or values-based perspective. But, the extent to which evidence is casually abused in this sector really is an enormous problem.

We use this video as part of the onboarding process at Bellwether. And we’re hiring.

*I was a founding board member of The Mind Trust and Bellwether has worked with them. On the advisory board for CRPE. Lots of Bellwether history with New Schools.

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