Additional Topics

The Thomas B. Fordham Institute is thrilled to welcome Robert Pondiscio as our senior fellow and vice president for external affairs, effective today. Here's his first of many posts he will pen as a member of the Fordham Institute team. Look for his posts on topics besides Common Core on Flypaper.

Frank Bruni of the New York Times worries that the pressure of selective college admissions is forcing kids to do “stagy, desperate, disturbing things to stand out.” He tells the story of a would-be Yalie with good grades and test scores but whose personal essay described a conversation with a teacher she admired—a conversation too important and stimulating to interrupt. “During their talk, when an urge to go to the bathroom could no longer be denied, she decided not to interrupt the teacher or exit the room. She simply urinated on herself,” he writes. 

In Bruni’s telling, today’s college applicants have grown up in the era of oversharing, “a tendency toward runaway candor and uncensored revelation, especially about tribulations endured and hardships overcome.”

Certainly this trend of uncensored oversharing is disconcerting. But the fault, dear Bruni, is not in our scars but in our schools. To a significant degree, this awkward, uninhibited narcissism is aided, abetted, and even encouraged by what passes for writing instruction as far back as elementary school.

New York City’s schools, for example, have long been have long been in the thrall of the Teachers College ...

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  1. Awesome – but brief – interview with Fordham Board member David Ponitz. Focused on higher-ed issues, but interesting nonetheless.  (Dayton Daily News)
  2. Tiny little Lodi News excerpts Fordham’s Mike Petrilli among many brief quotes in its editorial on the Vergara decision. (Lodi News-Sentinel)
  3. Definitely some ruffled feathers in Toledo regarding the split of their Head Start grant. Oddly enough for a Blade story, that doesn’t seem to include the fact that the group splitting the funds with Toledo Public Schools is a for-profit company…from Pennsylvania. It still remains to be seen what the split means for TPS’ plans to take over the YMCA building in Downtown Toledo. (Toledo Blade)
  4. Speaking of for-profit companies in education in Ohio, three smaller districts in Northeast Ohio are banding together to create an alternative program to serve students in their districts at risk of dropping out, reaching as far down as middle school to help children not making it in the traditional school setting. Admirable, yes? But this program will be run by a for-profit company from Illinois charging approximately $4,900 per student per district. One assumes this will be state money paying for these seats, so how is this different from a charter school? Answer, it’s not. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
  5. I’m going to go ahead and blame Katy
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COMMON CORE
A nine-year-old struggling with New York City’s new math curriculum highlights challenges in Common Core implementation. (New York Times)
 
THIRD-GRADE READING
South Carolina governor Nikki Haley signed legislation enacting a third-grade reading guarantee. (Curriculum Matters)
 
CHARTER SPACE
Success Academy’s planned expansion has put Mayor Bill de Blasio in a tough spot: share public-school space with charters or face escalating space costs. (New York Times)
 
HIGH STANDARDS
On Friday, a coalition of business and civic groups in Louisiana called on Governor Bobby Jindal to keep the Common Core. (Associated Press)
 
TENURE
A recent paper finds that under New York City’s tenure changes, ineffective teachers are more likely to leave schools voluntarily. (Teacher Beat)
 
TECHNOLOGY
The Common Core–spurred move to online testing is driving California’s school districts to close the tech gap. (Hechinger Report)
 
INDIAN EDUCATION
President Obama has announced new efforts to improve the schooling of American Indian students. (Politics K–12)
 
FORDHAM IN THE NEWS
Associated Press: “Common Core Upsets Home-Schooling Parents
Forbes: “Why The Vergara Decision Will Not Fundamentally Help Poor And Minority Students
Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel: Act 10 is working; state is in a better place”...

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  1. Fordham’s Chad Aldis peers into the future of accountability in a world of expanding parental choice. (RedefineED)
     
  2. Speaking of parental choice, a very strange news conference took place at the Lucas County Democratic Party HQ yesterday, announcing nothing newsworthy except to reiterate the views of the Toledo teachers union and local Democrats (two different groups, mind you) that charter schools are a destructive evil that’s causing Toledoans (Toledoites? Toledopolitans?) to suffer. But not good charter schools. They're OK. Oh, and not non-profit good ones either. Mostly just the for-profit ones…that are bad. Luckily one Republican flack and OCQE’s Ron Adler were on hand to lend some balance. Still, nothing newsworthy in this story. At all. (Toledo Blade)
     
  3. The Enquirer parses out passing rates for sophomores in Ohio's public school on this year’s final ever administration of the Ohio Graduation Test. Statewide, around 70 percent passed all five sections. In the Cincy area, it was 73.6 percent. Conveniently, there’s a bottom-five list that includes Winton Woods at 53 percent, New Miami at 50.8 percent, and Mount Healthy at 39 percent. (Cincinnati Enquirer)
     
  4. Of course, the Enquirer piece notes that the graduation testing landscape is a-changing in Ohio. As noted yesterday, those changes include a condition on private schools’ exemption from state testing. The Ohio Association of Independent Schools chats to the PD about that very thing today. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
     
  5. That new graduation testing landscape was also on the mind of StateImpact’s Amy Hansen
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The World Cup vs. Underwear Models

Amber and Michelle talk teacher tenure, selective high schools, and the stunning upset of Eric Cantor. Dara takes over the Research Minute with a study on whether vouchers "cherry pick" the best students.

Amber's Research Minute

Contexts Matter: Selection in Means-Tested School Voucher Programs,” by Cassandra M. D. Hart, Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis 26(2), June 2014: 186–206.

  1. We start in Cincinnati today with a guest commentary extolling the virtues of some very fine charter schools around Ohio...but mostly in Columbus. Weird. (Cincinnati Enquirer)
     
  2. The revolving door at the state Board of Education may be slowing down. Governor Kasich has already appointed a replacement for the member who resigned earlier this week. Interesting note here about this being the “rural seat”. That leaves only one more to fill, although that one’s been open longer. (Columbus Dispatch)
     
  3. The largest of Ohio’s teachers unions is urging Kasich to "drop kick" a provision in the MBR that would provide more money to dropout-recovery charter schools. The story goes to some pains to explain that not all dropout-recovery charters are run by White Hat Management (perennial union whipping boy) and that not all are in the graduation-rate basement, but to quote the OFT president: “Why would we give funds to something that has already proven to be worse than effective?" Why indeed? (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
     
  4. Speaking of teachers in Cleveland, the CMSD board met late into the night on Tuesday and one of its big agenda items was hearing final appeals for teachers identified for termination by their principals. The PD has been following this story all along, and we’ve been paying attention. From the initial 68 staffers identified, it came down to 12 teachers who appealed all the way to board. All 12 were terminated. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
     
  5. So that “bus driver gambling
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VERGARA
The high-profile Vergara v. California case has ended, with a state superior court judge ruling that California’s laws on teacher tenure and dismissal “unfairly saddle disadvantaged and minority students with weak teachers, infringing on those students’ right…to an equitable education.” (Education Week)
 
SAME OLD TESTS
A budget agreement in Michigan will increase school-aid funding by 4 percent and keep the Michigan Educational Assessment Program test for another school year, rather than transitioning to the Smarter Balanced exams. The agreement will cross Governor Snyder’s desk by the end of the week. (MLive)
 
‘TECHNIAL DIFFICULTIES’
Citing “technical difficulties,” the Detroit Public Schools failed to apply for Head Start funding for the fall. (Detroit News)
 
CRISTO REY
Detroit Cristo Rey, part of a chain of private Catholic Schools, is being held up as a model for its efforts to help minority students succeed in college. (NPR)
 
FORDHAM IN THE NEWS
EdCentral: “Test-and-Punish is a State of Mind, not the State of Reality
Education Next: “What We’re Watching: On the Rocketship
Politico Morning Education: “House loses ‘champion’ of charters and choice
 
START YOUR MORNING OFF RIGHT
Las Vegas Weekly: “All By Himself: Man uses McCarran Layover to Film Celine Dion Music Video”...

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  1. Fordham’s Chad Aldis was a guest on Good Mornings with Chris Oaks yesterday, talking Common Core in Ohio. (WFIN-AM, Findlay)
     
  2. Common Core is also on the mind of public radio reporter Bill Rice in Cleveland, whose interview subjects seem pretty sure that attempts to turn back the new standards in Ohio will fail. (IdeaStream, Cleveland)
     
  3. Editors in Akron opine against the sausage-making exercise that is the budget process in Ohio, more specifically, the recent mid-biennium budget review bill. (Akron Beacon Journal)
     
  4. I know I’m going to regret fudging my rule against clipping letters to the editor, but seriously, when the CEO of White Hat Management writes in to take the PD to task, it’s probably worth a read. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
     
  5. Aw man. What did I tell you? Slippery slope. Here’s another letter to the editor of the PD from a high school student who doesn't like the Common Core. Her conclusion: “Even though the idea of the Common Core sounds great, the cost of implementation and limitation on classroom freedoms is not worth it.” (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
     
  6. Back to “hard news” now: The PD parses out winners and losers in the teacher evaluation changes contained in the education MBR. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
     
  7. Ten years ago, the Ohio Coalition for Open Government and dozens of media organizations across the state performed their own “audit” of public entities (counties, cities, utilities, school districts, etc.) in regard to ease
  8. ...
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NYC’S SELECTIVE HIGH SCHOOL EXAM
Efforts by civil-rights advocates to allow New York City’s selective high schools to use multiple measures in admissions decisions have not gained political support. (New York Times)
 
NOLA’S CHARTERS
After Hurricane Katrina, the state-run Recovery School District (RSD) took over all of New Orleans’s schools but the best ones. And now, RSD charter schools are beginning to inch past those schools that were historically the top performers. (Hechinger Report)
 
PRIVATE-SCHOOL CHOICE
In the last eight days of the New York State Assembly’s legislative session, school-choice backers are making a final push to pass an education tax-credit bill. (Charters & Choice)
 
MUTUAL CONSENT IN COLORADO
A Colorado judge dismissed a union lawsuit that was intended to overturn a “mutual-consent” provision in the state’s teacher-effectiveness law. (Teacher Beat)
 
FORDHAM IN THE NEWS
Economist: “Zombieland
Wisconsin Public Radio: “Critics Of Common Core Standards Mobilize In Capitol For Hearings
 
START YOUR MORNING OFF RIGHT
Onion: “New Charter School Lottery System Gives Each Applicant White Pill, Enrolls Whoever Left Standing”...

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  1. Editors in Columbus opine favorably on the education MBR, covering many of the same points that we have recently made. (Columbus Dispatch)
     
  2. One piece of the MBR legislation that very few folks are pleased about relates to a windfall for dropout recovery charter schools. Editors in Cleveland opine against that provision and urge Governor Kasich to use his line-item veto power to “drop-kick it” from the bill before signing. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
     
  3. Fordham’s 2010 Needles in a Haystack report on high-achieving urban schools around Ohio is namechecked in today's PD story about Concept Schools coming under investigation by federal authorities for what is termed a “white-collar matter”. Concept runs a number of charter schools around the country, including Horizon Science Academy in Cleveland, featured in the first Needles report. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
     
  4. The State Board of Education is meeting in Columbus this week, but is still playing catchup in filling all its open seats. One new member was sworn in yesterday, but the resignation of another was accepted. There are still two unfilled seats. Check out coverage in the Columbus Dispatch and in Gongwer Ohio.
     
  5. How local is your local control if your superintendent and 10 of 13 administrators live outside the district? That question is being raised by a long-time Canton Schools board member in the wake of his resignation. (Canton Repository)
     
  6. We told you about the impending kick off of Columbus Mayor Michael
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