April 14, 2016

Education Books, King On Narrowing, MN Teacher Lawsuit, Turnaround Troubles, Pearson, Normalizing Pre-K Debate, Hamilton For Students, And More! Also, Caught Snake & Escapee Octopus

By Bellwether

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So there is a new romance novel based on New York’s infamous Rubber Rooms. Can’t wait to read but the bar for good education novels is quite high. For instance, there was an amazing one about No Child Left Behind and erectile dysfunction that really set a standard.

Speaking of books, Grapes of Wrath, a book that has enchanted or frustrated many a student, was first published on this date in 1939.

John King is giving a speech today calling for a more well-rounded curriculum. It’s worth reading as there is some nuance in it about the situation. And who can be against well-rounded curriculum anyway? That’s like being against ice cream. But, it’s worth noting that all the things states say they’re doing or advocates say they want states to do, well, they could do them under No Child Left Behind, too.

When it comes to teacher pensions 20 years of experience is not always the same as 20 years of experience. A lot depends on when you started and finished teaching.

This is not Minnesota nice! Another lawsuit over teacher policy, this time in Minnesota. CA, NY, now MN, three’s a trend right? Meanwhile the governance circus in Maine continues.

It’s really hard to turn around low-performing schools. AIR looks at that. Sure seems odd that given what we know about turnarounds and that everyone can’t seem to hashtag social mobility and inequality enough there is still not anything approaching a consensus on opening new high quality options for underserved students and their families…

I haven’t linked to the latest in this AFT versus Pearson shareholder dispute because it’s just so absurd – and not even in the ‘isn’t life wonderful?’ sense. Just absurd. The way union leaders talk about Pearson you’d think they were shorting the stock but in practice they and their affiliates are long on it – and really not doing their fellow shareholders any favors. But apparently people do want to know! I actually get emails asking ‘what’s that about?’ So if you’re interested Morning Education had the latest yesterday.* Anya Kamenetz looks at Pearson’s global work in Wired but mostly through the lens of how the U.S. sees things not the global reality for parents and students.

Bob Costrell on generational inequity and teacher pensions. Neerav Kingsland on RCTs. Paul Hill on wrap-around services.

Democratizing Hamilton. If you’ve checked out ticket prices for Hamilton on the secondary market, the only place they’re really available right now, there is a certain irony at play. Now an effort to make the musical accessible to students.

Sara Mead asks for a productive debate about pre-k education (give her a pony, too)?

In our highly fragmented early childhood system, some preschool programs have adequate resources to deliver quality programs, and many more do not. Expectations for quality also vary widely, both across funding streams and individual providers. In this context, asking whether “pre-K works” is as pointless a question as asking whether fourth grade works. Anyone familiar with Raj Chetty’sEric Hanushek’s or Dan Goldhaber’s work on variation in K-12 teacher effectiveness knows that there is a tremendous variation in children’s experiences in K-12 classrooms and the impact on their learning. By the same token, however, no one familiar with this research argues that our inability to guarantee quality fourth-grade teaching for all students means we should abolish fourth grade altogether.

The far more productive question, then, is, how do we make quality pre-K available at scale?

Here is a very long snake. This octopus is on the lam.

*Good a time as any for a standing disclosure that I don’t actively invest in education companies. Too many potential conflicts with my work. I do index funds. Boring, I know.

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