May 10, 2016

Obama At Howard, Remediation Everywhere, Lisa Hansel On Knowledge Matters, Trump Philantrhopy, The Study Racket, Teacher Turnover, Charter Grad Rates,

By Bellwether

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If you have not read President Obama’s remarks at Howard University’s commencement last weekend they are well worth the time. Covers a lot of ground and a few ongoing debates but really interesting take on things and obvious education implications.

So it turns out remedial education is not just for other people’s kids. Are people more likely to be open with you about their sex lives and personal finances than about the mediocre quality of education in many allegedly high-end communities and schools? Kinda seems that way!

Here’s a wonderful LA Times story:

Headline: Union-commissioned report says charter schools are bleeding money from traditional ones

Lede: A teachers union-funded report on charter schools concludes that these largely nonunion campuses are costing traditional schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District millions of dollars in tax money.

Third graf: The union gave The Times the study in advance of its scheduled presentation at Tuesday’s Board of Education meeting, with the stipulation that the report not be distributed to outside parties.

Last two grafs: The MGT report, which cost $82,000, doesn’t fault charters, saying that the problems have more to do with state and federal policies as well as district decisions.

But in the policy brief, the union takes a more aggressive tone, arguing for changes that include full funding from the federal government for disabled students and equitable distribution of these dollars by the state; more money for charter oversight — either from the state or from charters; and charging higher district fees, where possible, to charters.

If you think your report can withstand methodological scrutiny this is not how you release it*…I get that the reporter is telegraphing to intelligent readers what’s going on but still…it sounds like the report doesn’t even fit the headline.

Lisa Hansel on why knowledge matters and how you can get involved in the effort to improve curriculum. NASBE on data. Nelson Smith on charter school graduation rates.

You should sit down when you read this: Popularity of Ed Tech Not Necessarily Linked to Products’ Impact. I know! No way right?

Today in false choices and reductionist debates. Can’t we fix archaic personnel rules and improve incentives and comp for teachers? And why do we assume great teachers don’t want a performance-oriented work environment? Plenty of evidence they do. Besides, the worst offenders on painting teaching as some dystopian experience are the self-proclaimed advocates for teachers. It’s among the more challenging jobs to do well but the rhetoric is misaligned from the data about career and job satisfaction.

Related, here’s Chad Aldeman with some data on teacher turnover. As a byproduct of our work on pensions we have a lot of good data on teacher workforce trends. Contact me if you want to learn more if it would be useful for your work.

At an EWA discussion last week about the election I suggested that in the absence of clear education policy positions from Donald Trump (sorry, repealing the “federal Common Core” doesn’t count as one) aspects of his record like personal philanthropy might offer some clues. Randi Weingarten of the AFT said that in her time in New York he was AWOL on the ed scene. This media story highlights one Trump Foundation education beneficiary, but it’s a private school in NYC.

Another look at New Orleans changes. NASSP is proposing a policy on transgendered students. Debate over Florida’s tax credit scholarship program.

Bonnie O’Keefe goes looking for stakes.

Buffaloes and tourists.

*At Bellwether, in case you’re wondering, for transparency we release reports immediately when they’re cited in the press so readers can make up their own minds and people can go through them. Many orgs do the same thing.

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