October 5, 2016

New Bellwether Reports, VA Debate History, Charters In MA, Charters Everywhere, Charters And Race, And More Charters! Lots of Hess, Lots of Law, Lots Of Data, Not So Much Innovation….Plus Jobs At Bellwether And More!

By Bellwether

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Bellwether’s Allison Crean Davis and Julie Squire took a look at charter school board members in Washington – interesting! Chad Aldeman with accountability ideas for states thinking through ESSA.

Here’s a webinar, later today, looking at what the next administration might mean for education. Gerard Robinson, Bev Purdue, me, Ed Surge and hosted by Whiteboard Advisors.

Hailly Korman on the new juvenile justice bill. Lina Bankert and Steph Itelman on what it takes to win federal grant competitions.

They closed their schools. Last night at the opening of the debate Senator Tim Kaine said of the debate setting at Virginia’s Longwood University,

This is a very special place. Sixty-five years ago, a young, courageous woman, Barbara Johns, led a walkout of her high school, Moton High School. She made history by protesting school segregation. She believed our nation was stronger together. And that walkout led to the Brown v. Board of Education decision that moved us down the path toward equality.

This morning Politco’s must-read morning education tip sheet said, “Kaine led his first answer with a quick rundown of Longwood’s civil rights-era legacy.”

Not exactly. What Sen. Kaine said was not a rundown of the Civil Rights legacy of that area. That people think it was indicates how quickly we forget history or fold it into simpler narratives. The walkout was one episode and a vitally important one. The actual history – with real education aspects by the way! – unfortunately includes a lot more. In particular, that the county there closed their schools rather than integrate – for years. It was a major massive resistance episode. It’s a story of awful racism but also heroism and tenacity. It wasn’t until the Warner administration in the early part of the last decade that the state really began to own up to what happened and make financial compensation. Just last year Longwood apologized for its role, or lack thereof, in the episode. Even today, Virginia doesn’t desegregate by race or income in key measures of school performance and accreditation and masks big achievement gaps as a result.

Of course, Sen. Kaine wasn’t there to give a history lesson. He was there to debate and had limited time. But there is a lot more to the history than he let on or Politico did (The 74 looked at this prior to the debate). And it is history as well as more recent actions and issues well worth keeping in mind.

Massachusetts charter cap referendum is up in the air. Bay State Banner wants Massachusetts’ charter cap raised. Elizabeth Warren, who formerly supported school choice is now opposed to lifting the charter cap in MA. Whitmire goes door to door up there and hears from parents bewildered their more affluent neighbors don’t want to toss them an educational life line. Tom Kane on all the evidence about the schools.

Elsewhere in charters: Really big charter rally. New updated model law from the NAPCS. What are Rocketship alumni up to? The debate about race and charter schools via Mother Jones.  NPR looks at the same debate through the voices of various advocates:

But I don’t get this Rick Hess point at all, it’s like a mashup of Hess talking points:

“Twenty-first century school reform has been a story of tackling race-based achievement gaps, with blatant disregard for suburban and middle-class interests. When you racialize an issue, you open the door to folks with a variety of race-based agendas.

“Reform is increasingly a question of race-based grievance rather than helping all children.”

I get the argument that a resurgence of identity politics is going to spark other identity politics. Seems kind of obvious. Glenn Loury and John McWhorter discuss that here.  And I get how white and suburban communities are often at odds with reform that they perceive as focused on other kids (see Massachusetts above). But Rick doesn’t seem to be arguing either of those points. Instead he seems to be saying that the reform movement’s emphasis on achievement gaps (a frequent Hess target) is to blame for the backlash against reform from groups like the NACCP or BLM. But that argument doesn’t withstand much scrutiny – especially in the case of the NACCP, which supports the achievement gap emphasis in policy. I guess you can argue that it sparked unpredictable chaos so here we are? But it – Hess’ point and the underlying situation – seems more to me like politics?

Elsewhere in Hess he says higher ed is about to get NCLB’d. That seems right but higher education leaders would do well to remember the role that resistance to any sort of meaningful accountability measures played in the pot that boiled over and became NCLB in 2001.


This article says that government is a font of innovation. Some truth, especially in some sectors. The education sector arguably not strongly amongst them despite some tries over the past decade.

Here’s a useful primer on teacher pensions via Brookings.  Here’s an overview of the data and research on school discipline. Don’t miss Stephen Carter on banned books.

This is a good debate about single letter grade approach to accountability versus the matrix approach California is taking.

Comparable data matters. Test scores have some problems for principal evaluations. Some dissonance with the research on test scores and teachers and again a reminder that, as in other sectors, managerial discretion informed by professional judgement will have to play a role here.

Complicated legal decision on the Nevada ESA policy.  Big legal decision coming on the standard of quality for special education under federal law. More on the ed cases on the court’s docket via The 74.

The history of cops in schools is more complicated than what you’re probably hearing now.

Bethany Gross argues that cities are becoming education ecosystems not monoliths. Willingham says delete your account – your brain training account.

We’re looking for a comms intern at Bellwether. Great opportunity to work with our team and our comms manager. Also an AP role open on our strategy team. Plus more, check our hiring page out.

This school bus became a deer stand. Now that the Grateful Dead are not touring these sorts of creative repurposing ideas for old buses will take on an added urgency.

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