Wednesday, January 27, 2016
Creating Community-Whatcom Middle School Fall 2015 from Lauren McClanahan on Vimeo.
Friday, January 1, 2016
Monday, December 14, 2015
Friday, November 6, 2015
JOURNAL OF EDUCATIONAL CONTROVERSY
Publication Date - 2016
Papers due - Fall, 2016
THEME: Is “Best Practices” Research in Education Insufficient or even Misdirected?
CONTROVERSY TO BE ADDRESSED BY AUTHORS:
For decades the research
agenda for identifying “best practices” for reforming education has been
structured around testing hypotheses of either effectiveness or prediction of
outcomes. Within the quantitative approach researchers have used a
variety of traditional causal and correlational designs to examine
relationships between specific measurable variables. Researchers have also used
qualitative approaches to examine implementation of such practices in more
depth through observations in the field, interviews with students and
educators, and content analysis of curriculum and student work.
Wednesday, October 28, 2015
Wednesday, October 14, 2015
National Education Policy Center Continues its Critical Look at the Claims of Charter School Research
Charter Researchers Promoting“No Excuses” Schools Republish Inflated Claims
Review of No Excuses Charter Schools
William J. Mathis, (802) 383-0058; firstname.lastname@example.org
Jeanne M. Powers, (805) 893-7770, email@example.com
URL for this press release: http://tinyurl.com/numtqep
BOULDER, CO (October 9, 2015) – In December 2014, the “Department of Education Reform” at the University of Arkansas published a meta-analysis of the effects of so-called No Excuses Charter Schools. The report was subsequently reviewed by Professor Jeanne Powers of Arizona State University, for the National Education Policy Center. Powers raised several serious questions, and she criticized the report for its overstated claims about the potential of these types of schools to close the achievement gap.
A new version of the report was recently released by the National Center for Studies of Privatization in Education (NCSPE), and Professor Powers has now provided a short follow-up review, published along with the initial review on the NEPC website. She finds that the NCSPE version has a revised introduction and conclusion, wherein the authors do note additional limitations to their study. However, the report’s major shortcomings remain. In the follow-up review, Powers explains, point-by-point, her remaining concerns with the study:
1. The primary (and repeated) claim of the report is that “No Excuses” charter schools can close the achievement gap. Powers explains that the underlying research that this report relies upon only supports the more limited and appropriate claim that the subset of No Excuses charter schools have done relatively well in raising the test scores of the students who participate in school lotteries and then attended the schools. The claim that these schools can close the achievement gap is supported by nothing other than an arithmetic extrapolation of evidence that comes with clear limitations.Find Powers’ original review and follow-up review of the “No Excuses” charter report here.
2. A common and well-recognized problem in charter school research is “selection effects.” That is, parents who choose “No Excuses” schools may be more educated, more engaged in the school-selection process, and differ in other significant ways from those parents who did not choose such a school. This would logically be a major concern for oversubscribed “No Excuses” schools, but the findings cannot be generalized to all parents.
3. Over-subscribed schools that conduct lotteries for student admission are, one would assume, different from less popular schools. Nevertheless, Cheng et al. imply that the findings can be generalized to all No Excuses charter schools.
4. The prominent and oversubscribed “No Excuses” schools are often supported by extensive outside resources. Offering an extended school day, for example, may not be financially feasible for other schools, and the scaling-up costs of doing so are not addressed. A charter that takes the No-Excuses approach yet lacks the additional resources should not be assumed to show the same results.
5. The sample of schools included in the studies Cheng et al. analyzed is largely drawn from major urban areas in the Northeast and is small, particularly at the high school level.
The original Arkansas report is currently available at the following url:
The republished version of the Arkansas report is currently available at the following url:
The mission of the National Education Policy Center is to produce and disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed research to inform education policy discussions. We are guided by the belief that the democratic governance of public education is strengthened when policies are based on sound evidence. For more information on the NEPC, please visit http://nepc.colorado.edu/.
Please forward this to anyone you think might be interested. You can learn more about NEPC and sign up for publication updates by visiting http://nepc.colorado.edu/. To learn more about the Think Twice think tank review project, visit http://thinktankreview.org
Tuesday, October 6, 2015
Amidst Accolades for her Life Lies the Realities of her Death – Why the Life and Work of Grace Lee Boggs Remains a Clarion Call
Below we reprint Grace Lee Boggs’ blog post along with links to the two reviews to which she is responding.
Their book reviews further help us to understand that people are finding inspiration from the book because they are connecting with a set of ideas whose time has come:
• Maybe it helps us envision ourselves as Revolutionaries, moving away from the wrong side of the world revolution where we have seemed stuck since the Vietnam War.
To link to the original book reviews, go to:
1. A Book Review by Victor Nolet
Grace Lee Boggs
Monday, September 28, 2015
Problems with CREDO’s Charter School Research: Understanding the Issues
Andrew Maul’s rejoinder to CREDO’s response
William J. Mathis, (802) 383-0058, firstname.lastname@example.org
Andrew Maul, (805) 893-7770, email@example.com
Please forward this to anyone you think might be interested. You can learn more about NEPC and sign up for publication updates by visiting http://nepc.colorado.edu/. To learn more about the Think Twice think tank review project, visit http://thinktankreview.org.
Saturday, September 5, 2015
Chief Justice Madsen was joined in the ruling by Justices Charles Johnson, Charles Wiggins, Mary Yu, Debra Stevens and Susan Owens.
Appellants in the case were a coalition of groups including the League of Women Voters, the Washington Education Association, El Centro de la Raza, and the Washington Association of School Administrators and several individual plaintiffs.
Readers can read the full decision at: http://www.courts.wa.gov/opinions/pdf/897140.pdf
The decision follows another one that we reported on in the post below. In that decision, the court had ruled that the Washington State legislature had failed to adequately fund public education in the state and imposed a $100000 daily sanction on the legislature. See our earlier post
Sunday, August 23, 2015
Rejecting “Testing our Way to Success”: Washington State Tribal Leaders Speak out on Standardization
Earlier this month I
posted a letter written to Senator Patty Murray by Robey Clark, a fellow member
of Oregon Save Our Schools, regarding reauthorization of ESEA. Today I am
posting a letter he shared with me that was sent to Washington State
Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn by the governing tribes of the
Washington State Tribal Compact Schools on June 5th, 2015. Mr. Dorn has yet to
respond to the tribes.
Big thanks to Robey Clark for sharing this with me and for fighting for the schools our children deserve.
Our experience has been that our schools have diligently tried to adopt “research based” models and “data based decision making” as primary methods for school improvement for years now. For the past 15 years, federal policy has placed more and higher stakes on test results. So much weight has been placed upon them that, standardized tests have become an end unto themselves. Something must change. We do not accept that standardized testing defines the potential or truly measures the growth of our children in any meaningful way. Therefore, as sovereign tribal governments, shouldering the new responsibilities under the state compact, we feel it is our duty to make a change toward authentic assessment and accountability. If Indian students are motivated, they will succeed. It is our goal to create places where our children and young adults wish to be and where there is an inherent expectation and tradition of success.
We will call upon our schools to develop ways to teach content and to hone student academic skills through authentic work for real life purposes rather than to depend mainly upon passive and abstract classroom instruction. These methods may further enhance Indian student learning as they more closely resemble historical tribal teaching practices. Traditionally, our children learned specific skills within the context of an immediate and worthwhile task. As students progress toward later grades, authentic instruction should increase and passive classroom instruction decrease. To support these proposed reforms, we intend to provide our schools an evaluation model based upon public demonstration to the community. We will give our professional educational staff the flexibility to re-organize as necessary and to experiment in developing more deeply engaging educational experiences. In addition, we will find new ways to evaluate and award credit for the work completed outside the classroom. The teachers will work in teams to share the burden and include high school students in yearly planning.
Sunday, August 16, 2015
Washington State Supreme Court to State Legislature: Fix Educational Funding or Pay $100,000 Daily Fine
Northwest Public Radio: Washington Lawmakers To Meet On Education Funding
Here is a link to the actual documents from the court:
Supreme Court Case Number 84362-7 - McCleary, et al. v. State of Washington
Here is a link to archived videos of court and legislative actions on TVW in Washington, the public access channel.
Tuesday, August 4, 2015
ACLU to Argue in Federal Court on Behalf of a Third Grader with Disabilities who was Handcuffed in School: See Video Below
Editor: The Journal of Educational Controversy published a special issue in the past on the School-to-Prison Pipeline. We pointed out that this trend to criminalize students rather than educating them has had a disproportionate impact on students of color and students with disabilities and emotional problems. The American Civil Liberties Union has just filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of two elementary school students with disabilities. The ACLU has been showing this disturbing video below on one of the students, a third grader, who was handcuffed in school. Following the video is the ACLU's account of it.
ACLU ACCOUNT OF EVENT ON THE HANDCUFFING OF A CHILD WITH DISABILITIES:
Saturday, July 25, 2015
Have you heard the news? Atticus Finch is a racist.
I know, it’s hard to square with the images of ourselves we like to project. After all, we just took down the Confederate flag! We recoiled in horror at the images of Eric Garner being strangled! We hated George Zimmerman! We voted for Barack Obama!
But here’s the thing: being racist isn’t only about explicit acts. It includes implicit privilege. It requires complicit silence.
James Baldwin told us this fifty years ago, at the height of the civil rights movement – and just two years after To Kill a Mockingbird made its celebrated debut. “This is the crime of which I accuse my country and my countrymen,” he wrote. “That they have destroyed and are destroying hundreds of thousands of lives and do not know it and do not want to know it.
“It is not permissible that the authors of devastation should also be innocent. It is the innocence which constitutes the crime.”
It is the innocence which constitutes the crime.
The opportunity of the present moment – a moment when it has become undeniable to all but the most sand-headed White people that, even amidst all the progress, Black people are living under siege – is to finally step courageously into a new conversation about race and racism in America.
But that conversation, and the actions that follow, must begin with this admission: we are all Atticus Finch.
Up to now, we’ve taken solace with the idea that we are that Atticus Finch – the first one, the one who was a crusading attorney who stood up for what was right in the face of the pig-fisted brutality of the American South.
For some of us, maybe, sometimes we have been.
But we’re also that Atticus Finch – the new one, just revealed to us via Harper Lee’s eagerly anticipated sequel, Go Set a Watchman. And as the first reviews tell us, that Atticus Finch attends Klan meetings, denounces segregation efforts, and asks his daughter pointedly, “Do you want them in our world?”
Being that Atticus Finch doesn’t require that we attend white supremacy meetings, support police brutality, or poison our own children with hate. It merely requires that we maintain our innocence amidst the maw of institutionalized racism, and mask our complicity in that system via periodic outrages at current events that clash with the saintly pictures we have painted of ourselves.
It is striking that Go Set A Watchman, with its unflattering revision of a beloved, one-note character, should come out now, amidst Charleston, and Baltimore, and #blacklivesmatter. But perhaps, as Alexandra Alter writes in the New York Times, “if To Kill A Mockingbird sugarcoats racial divisions by depicting a white man as the model for justice in an unjust world, then Go Set A Watchman may be like bitter medicine that more accurately reflects the times.”
Harper Lee’s bitter medicine should not taste that bitter to us. As much as we would like to believe it, there are no clear heroes and villains; we are neither one nor the other.
We are both.
We have been born into a society that confers a lifetime of invisible advantages to our families. We have the opportunity to cherry-pick which injustices to our Black brothers and sisters should move us to dissatisfaction. And we have chosen, thus far, not just to maintain what James Baldwin calls “the innocence,” but what The Atlantic correspondent Ta-Nehisi Coates calls “The Dream.”
“The Dream is treehouses and the Cub Scouts,” he writes in his new memoir, Between the World and Me. “The Dream smells like peppermint but tastes like strawberry shortcake. The Dream rests on our backs, the bedding made from our bodies.”
“It does not matter if the agent of those forces is white or black. What matters is the system that makes your body breakable.”
What matters is the system that makes your body breakable.
So we are all Atticus Finch. We have beauty and prejudice and ignorance and complacency and privilege and compassion and the chance to do something or nothing. We can be forces for good or a silent and gradual force for community decay and destruction.
Who we aspire to be is not solely who Atticus was. It is not solely who we are, either.
And so we have work to do. And it will require a much more constant vigilance, and honesty, and self-awareness than we have shown so far.
(Reprinted with permission of the author from the Sam Chaltain website. This article also appeared in The Huffington Post.)