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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
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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)
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)
Citing “technical difficulties,” the Detroit Public Schools failed to apply for Head Start funding for the fall. (Detroit News)
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)
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
Las Vegas Weekly: “All...

  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
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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)
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)
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)
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)
Economist: “Zombieland
Wisconsin Public Radio: “Critics Of Common Core Standards Mobilize In Capitol For Hearings
Onion: “New Charter School Lottery System Gives Each Applicant White Pill, Enrolls Whoever Left Standing”...

  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
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Ohio’s new school-building and district report cards got a big thumbs up from both parent reviewers and wonky researchers in a new study from the Education Commission of the States. In fact, Ohio was the recipient of the highest praise in the study which looked at accountability efforts in all fifty states. Reviews cited breadth of measures, ease of interpretation, and easy accessibility, among other things. And that position stands to improve with expanded data elements planned for roll out in 2015. Just one question remains: if this is so awesome, why did only the Dayton Daily News cover this prestigious result?

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The Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, in partnership with SRI International, has released a new report on blended learning that seems to indicate that, despite its many fans and rapid growth, kinks remain to get resolved if it’s to be transformative. Many software and online programs were found to be inadequate, glitchy, and poorly aligned to schools’ pace and sequence of instruction; insufficient bandwidth and hardware problems abounded; personalization of content to individual students was a problem for children on both the low and high ends of the ability spectrum;...

The Washington Post made a big splash this weekend with a long, thorough piece on Common Core adoption and implementation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The Post calls the embrace of Common Core “one of the swiftest and most remarkable shifts in education policy in U.S. history” and attributes it to the philanthropy of the world’s wealthiest person. Perhaps this is the beginning of a trend—the media covering private giving to schools. The New York Times recently reported on the K–12 giving of the Walton Family Foundation.

Something big is afoot in the nation’s teacher unions. In state and local elections, members are choosing increasingly militant leaders. This might be what unions need to regain strength, or it could further isolate them. Either way, the path ahead is going to be bumpy for all involved. This piece, despite the crude analysis of the reform community, explains what’s happening and why.

I’ve spilled lots of ink trying to raise the alarm about Detroit’s schools. But a picture’s worth a thousand words, so take a quick spin through this tragic photo collection on the abandonment of...

  1. A couple of last week’s topics have continued in dicussion through the weekend. First up, NCTQ’s report on teacher absences. The Enquirer published a commentary pinning at least one third of teacher absences reported in that survey on "state mandates" and the training time required for teachers. Common Core, new Kindergarten assessments, OTES, third grade reading, and a number of other buzzwords are also blamed. (Cincinnati Enquirer)
  2. Next up, the Beacon Journal takes on the new “3 paths to graduation” set out by the education MBR; specifically, the path that gives $5 million to dropout recovery schools. There are tons of questions still to answer, but the ABJ seems staunchly opposed at this juncture. (Akron Beacon Journal)
  3. In other news, the only piece of Columbus’ failed reform levy from last fall to get a toehold into reality - $5 million for preschool programs – is moving forward already, but the preK plans appear to be baffling even folks on the inside. I have to ask: is this supposed to be education support or job support? And how on earth – and why on earth – is the program going to limit its support to folks
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Less than half of the children seeking a free prekindergarten seat in New York City were assigned one in their top-choice public school next year, and around one-third weren’t assigned a seat at all. (New York Times)

Speaking from personal experience, a college student makes an appeal for better programs to help kids from immigrant and low-income families navigate the financial-aid process. (Hechinger Report)

By Education Week’s count, just 42 percent of U.S. K–12 students will take a Common Core–aligned assessment designed by PARCC or Smarter Balanced. (Curriculum Matters)

Policymakers have renewed a push to build a federal “unit record” database, originally proposed by the Bush administration and killed by privacy advocates, which would track students through college and into the workforce and would be administered by the U.S. Department of Education. (Inside Higher Ed)

While some district leaders are becoming savvier consumers of ed-tech products, many simply don’t understand the technology, hampering entrepreneurs from getting from “idea to selling.” (For more on ed tech, see Education Week’s special report on “Navigating the Ed-Tech Marketplace.”)



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