July 23, 2020

Bellwether Webinar w/ Jeb Bush, John King, Carissa Moffat Miller, Plus Chris Stewart Show!

This morning I did Chris Stewart’s show, we talked about education politics and the evolution of intra-Dem politics since the 1990s. But it’s 2020 so we talked about a lot of other things including the Pod Wars, reopening schools, and what we’re teaching our kids at home right now. Watch here.

On Monday at Bellwether we hosted Jeb Bush, John King, and Carissa Moffat Miller to talk about accountability. You can watch or read that below:

And here’s Alex Spurrier with some takeaways.

July 21, 2020

Recessions And Teacher Hiring, Plus Webinars And Reopening Chaos!

Here’s a new look at that with possibly timely implications.

Seems like on school reopening if there is any discernible trend it’s a trend away from live instruction toward remote, so districts pulling back.

Update: For example….

Also, we’ll be releasing video from this webinar asap:

July 20, 2020

Testing…Testing…And Teach Your Children Well. Well What?

Interesting grafs in The Times’ deep dive on DEI training:

Ron Ferguson, a Black economist, faculty member at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and director of Harvard’s Achievement Gap Initiative, is a political liberal who gets impatient with such thinking about conventional standards and qualifications. “The cost,” he told me in January, “is underemphasizing excellence and performance and the need to develop competitive prowess.” With a soft, rueful laugh, he said I wouldn’t find many economists sincerely taking part in the kind of workshops I was writing about. “When the same group of people keeps winning over and over again,” he added, summarizing the logic of the trainers, “it’s like the game must be rigged.” He didn’t reject a degree of rigging, but said, “I tend to go more quickly to the question of how can we get prepared better to just play the game.”

When we talked again in June, the interracial protests had infused Ferguson with some optimism. “I have this mental image of plants that have been growing in the shade,” he said of the impediments Black people too often have to take for granted in our society, “and all of a sudden the shade starts to be removed, and these plants start to thrive in ways they never imagined they could. I think there’s a possibility of a blossoming if the society starts to see us as fully human, removing the cloud of white-supremacist assumptions.”

But, he suggested, “in this moment we’re at risk of giving short shrift to dealing with qualifications. You can try to be competitive by equipping yourself to run the race that’s already scheduled, or you can try to change the race. There may be some things about the race I’d like to change, but my priority is to get people prepared to run the race that’s already scheduled.”

This is a question we don’t talk about enough. Do you prepare students for the world they’re going into or the world you wish they were going into and hope to create? The answer, and obviously well-intentioned people have different ones, is not as straightforward as it seems.

Relates to the renewed fight over testing. We still talk about testing in blunt terms, should we get rid of testing? The real questions are what tests and for what purposes. There are key differences between say a 3rd-grade ELA test, the SAT, and an employment test. And differences between tests for individuals and tests that are aggregated for transparency, accountability, or policy. And most people have views that key off those various questions and are more varied than the test or don’t test debate allows.

This sector is certainly hunting for answers, but maybe even more really in need of questions.

July 17, 2020

Friday Fish Pics

Laura LoGerfo was in southern Illinois recently and did the only responsible thing a parent can do in a situation like that – she took her kids fishing!

The trip report, in her words,

“Moments after they threw in their lines, the girls were catching fish.  They absolutely loved it.”

Smiles confirm.

By day, when she’s not guiding fishing trips, LoGerfo work for NAGB.

Friday fish what? Friday Fish Porn is a longtime but episodic feature around here but it’s quite straightforward: It’s education people with fish. Hundreds since 2006, which is ridiculous. (We go with Friday Fish Pics when it’s kids.) Send me yours!

Posted on Jul 17, 2020 @ 8:00am

July 14, 2020

Making Next Year Count: Equity in School Accountability

A global pandemic has interrupted standards-based accountability systems, which were originally built as a path to higher and more equitable outcomes for students. Join Jeb Bush, John B. King, Jr., Carissa Moffat Miller, and Bellwether’s Andy Rotherham for a conversation about how we should measure the impact of education systems on students, particular students of color and low-income students, even as circumstances change on the ground.

Join us for a webinar with Jeb Bush, John King, and Carissa Moffat Miller next Monday.

July 13, 2020

July 10, 2020

Friday Fish Pic! Weeby’s Designs On A Largemouth!

It’s Friday. Here’s Jason Weeby, formerly of Bellwether and currently at NSVF, out with his son fishing. Something you can do socially distanced? Something that almost guarantees a smile? Take a kid fishing! 

Quite timely to have Jason this week because he’s a long time advocate for design thinking in education and just this week Kayne West came out as an adherent.

New here? Friday Fish Porn is a longtime but episodic feature – it’s just education people with fish. Hundreds since Jim Griffin was the first one in 2006. (We go with Friday Fish Pics when little ones are involved.)

Send me yours – all welcome.

Posted on Jul 10, 2020 @ 8:30am

July 9, 2020

Morning News

The Trump Administration is threatening to withhold funding from schools that don’t fully open in the fall. They’re trying to exert pressure on colleges, too. It’s an obviously idiotic idea that cuts against the common sense principle that at a time like this local decision makers should be making decisions based on local context. In other words, there are places schools could open, places that would be a terrible idea, but it’s July and this is not a static situation.

Yet I’m not so sure on the all the certainty that the administration would have no legal authority to pull this off. They might be able to in terms of some federal dollars.

Edujob – Project Manager On A High-Impact Fast Moving Venture

COVID-19 has brought about an unprecedented, large-scale shift to remote and digital instruction across the American education system that has left behind millions of students who lack access to sufficient devices/ connectivity.

In response, Bellwether has been working in collaboration with respected family engagement and advocacy organizations to develop a solution that brings “low tech,” print-based instructional materials to families across the digital divide in an effort to minimize the impact of interrupted learning. We are in the process of launching a pilot in Tennessee, after which the solution will be scaled nationally.

We seek a seasoned project leader to serve as National Project Lead and bring this work to successful outcome: see the pilot through in Tennessee; identify and forge strong partnerships with content and production and distribution providers; determine where, how, and when to take the solution to new regions across the country; and monitor progress and uptake and make modifications as necessary.

See linked job description for more.