January 27, 2016

Messing With Success, Common Core Fodder, Roger Murdock On Charters, Hailly Korman On Solitary, Teller On Teaching, School Segregation, Accountability, And Badger Escape Artists!

By Bellwether

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Common Core debate fodder from Education Next:

In spite of Tea Party criticism, union skepticism, and anti-testing outcries, the campaign to implement Common Core State Standards (otherwise known as Common Core) has achieved phenomenal success in statehouses across the country. Since 2011, 45 states have raised their standards for student proficiency in reading and math, with the greatest gains occurring between 2013 and 2015. Most states set only mediocre expectations for students for nearly 10 years after the passage of the federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). Now, in the wake of the Common Core campaign, a majority of states have made a dramatic move forward.

He may not work hard enough on defense but Kareem Abdul-Jabbar wants to shake up elementary and secondary education.

Interesting school improvement story from Atlanta:

In a gamble to fix a dysfunctional school ahead of a potential state takeover, Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Meria Carstarphen merged one of the city’s best high schools with one of its worst.

OK. Let’s assume a few things.

– There is a shortage of high-quality seats in most cities. (Bellwether works with districts, charters, and intermediaries to help solve this problem in locales around the country.)

-We should be trying to create as many high-quality seats as possible as quickly as possible.

-There are not enough high-quality seats in a lot of places to be jeopardizing them through various schemes. So the game should be creating more not putting existing ones at risk.

-While there are exceptions the evidence is pretty clear that while not foolproof, it’s easier/higher probability to open new high quality schools (within district or charter schools) if oversight and quality controls are real than it is to “turnaround” existing ones.

So other than various local political imperatives, the theory of action in this case is really questionable if you start from the place of what’s best for students.

Race and school segregation:

…have changes over time in housing and school attendance patterns reduced the isolation of black children in the public schools? The answer depends on the specific way progress is measured. If we ask whether the average black student is exposed to more white students in public school today than a half century ago, the answer is yes, although fewer than in the 1980s; after rising in the 1970s, the rate of exposure has declined markedly since 1988. Another measure of progress toward integration is the dissimilarity index, which measures how much the racial composition of the schools would have to change for each school to have the same percentage of whites and blacks as these groups constitute in the school-age population as a whole. By this measure, schools are closer to complete integration than ever before, and thus racial composition would have to change less now than when the report was released. How can two questions that seem so similar have such different answers? The explanation is in the changing demographic composition of the schools: the percentage of students who are white has declined dramatically over the past 50 years, while the percentage of students who are black has changed very little.

A lot of sleight of hand around the data on this question, important analysis.

Cool book drive. This is tragic. Bellwether’s Hailly Korman on the President’s prison solitary announcement. Chad Aldeman wants your dashboard accountability off his lawn. Chris Gabrielli wants more than academics measured. The two national parties can’t even agree on what the issues are. But in general education isn’t one!

School discipline is a mess and there are alternatives to the prevailing norms that would work better for some kids (although some just need alternative arrangements). But don’t ever underestimate K-12′s ability to take otherwise good ideas and approaches that can lessen suspensions and screw them up through flaky implementation driven by adult concerns about aesthetics rather than what is good for kids. More background here.

Teller on teaching. Before magic he taught Latin.

Honey badger Alcatraz.

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