May 19, 2016

PARCC In The Open, Aldeman Calls BS On Finance, Telegenic Brown, Click Gets Her Muscle At Last, Chicago, Wolfe Of Wonk Street, Lousy OH Charter, Lousy Choice Rules, Elite Schools And Low-Income Students, Homeschooling, And More. Plus, Llamas and Physics!

By Bellwether

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New York Times headline on…..May 17th, 2016: Mississippi District Ordered to Desegregate Its Schools.

So a PARCC test got released and everyone is upset. Predictable. But here’s the buried lede: A professor at Columbia Teachers College apparently doesn’t get that you don’t have “Constitutional First Amendment rights” to publish IP you don’t own. Others don’t get this either. Presumably if people started publishing her books online for anyone to read without paying that might bring some clarity? You can criticize the tests all you want – that’s an important First Amendment protected activity – but you’re not allowed to take another’s property, that’s not a free speech right! And if you’re going to do it at least just say, I realize what I’m doing but think it’s too important not to.  Or at least please don’t teach civics.

In any event, PARCC understandably wants to protect their IP and state dollars. There are sample questions around so while I personally think more transparency is better to demystify the tests PARCC is at least making an effort to communicate about the tests in a way you don’t generally see. They’re also a Bellwether client, btw, but on operational issues not on test design or IP.

Elsewhere in bad behavior can we stop referring to Campbell Brown in sexist terms? She is telegenic, sure, and you know what else? She’s also quite competent so you can disagree with her on substance without invoking her looks.

Chad Aldeman on why we can’t have nice things:

The distinction that Weingarten and Garcia are making, but that they’re unable to say publicly, is that they support equitable funding across districts but not within them. These are separate issues, but they both contribute to school funding disparities.

As progressives, it makes sense that union leaders would support equity in general, but there’s no good reason for why that moral impulse should stop at school district borders. Instead, this seeming contradiction can be explained by the fact that fixing within-district disparities would inevitably touch on issues of teacher compensation and teacher placement that are under the purview of locally negotiated teacher labor contracts. Districts could address within-district inequities in lots of ways — they could offer higher salaries to teachers in poorer schools, they could have lower class sizes in poorer schools, or they could expand other services within poorer schools — but local teachers’ union contracts often prohibit all of these policy options.

Sawchuk and Superville are all over Chicago.  History and status quo here. Local color and perspective here. Chicago has been really significant to the education world and its politics over the last few years so keep an eye on all this.

The winner of the Fordham wonk contest, Christy Wolfe, on all the great things states “can” do under ESSA provisions.

What took you so long! The Times discovers one of Ohio’s bad actors in the charter sector. Notice the lack of defenders of the school other than its operator – that’s a key part of the story in Ohio and relates to the reform bill that is mentioned only in passing.

This seems sort of screwed up.   Elsewhere a Nevada judge upholds the state’s new education savings account policy.  And lots of conflict at Central Park East.

Melissa Click is finally getting some muscle over here! From the AAUP.

ACT and UNCF on college and career readiness for African-American students (pdf).  How the transgender bathroom debate is playing out in one VT school.  Nick Anderson looks at low-income students at elite schools.  Boston Globe on the same dynamics from last year.  Republican Hill leaders rattling the cage on ESSA rulemaking (pdf).  Broad charter prize finalists announced.  Pension reform back on the table in PA.  Wisconsin’s Supreme Court rules in state ed chief governance dispute there. Homeschooling is all over the place from really good to really irresponsible.

Llama Llama likes Whitney Houston. Virginia woman dissatisfied with the 2016 candidates. And if you get a bunch of people to send you money, like a million dollars, that you then bury in your backyard while you’re “treating” them for curses with the promise to return it later when they’re cured. Well, that’s OK. If you spend the money instead and don’t return it? That’s fraud. And if you’re a psychic you should know this is what’s going to happen to you.

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