August 31, 2018

BW Talks Talent, Today In Divisive Social Issues, CAP Curriculum, Great Letters, More!

All week Bellwether has been talking education human cap issues. Most recently: Kirsten Schmitz on how we’re flying blind on superintendent data. Melissa King on toxic stress and teacher training. Justin Trinidad on diversity and teacher residencies. And Lina Bankert on the teacher training pipeline – cool graphic too!

Some gun news here related to the Department of Education and a buried lede about the scope of the safety commission’s work.

Marc Tucker on Arne Duncan.

CAP takes a look at what some large school districts are doing with curriculum. Good temp check.

Grad school and practical skills. This is true for undergrads as well, the kind of writing they are generally rewarded for is not the kind that helps you get a job that requires writing.

DOJ wading into the Harvard affirmative action case. And likely action on a change to Title IX sexual assault rules.

Letter of the day:

Dong Hyun Kang
REDACTED
Suwon City, Gyeonggi-do
16505, Republic of Korea
27 August 2018
Will Fitzhugh
The Concord Review
730 Boston Post Road, Suite 24

Sudbury, Massachusetts 01776 USA

Dear Mr. Fitzhugh,
This is Dong Hyun Kang, who received an Emerson Prize for the history paper, “Creation of Hangul” a few months back.
It is really my honor and pleasure to get such a positive evaluation from a highly respected institution like yours.
I would like to inform you that I have received your check for $1,000 as well. After thinking about how I should spend the money, I have ultimately decided to donate it to The Concord Review.
While I fully understand that you have intended the money to be used for my purpose, I would like to contribute to helping inspire other high school historians to academic excellence, which is the very goal of The Concord Review.
My experience of writing “Creation of Hangul” by itself has been very rewarding, for it has allowed me to attain a new level of sophisticated thinking regrading critical analysis and synthesis of historical events and phenomena.
Once again, I cannot express my gratitude enough for the uniquely high distinction you have accorded me.
Cordially,
Dong Hyun Kang
[Seoul International School Class of 2018
Oxford University, 2021]
Posted on Aug 31, 2018 @ 4:40pm

August 29, 2018

Charles Blaschke

It’s not Friday, but we’ve got a fish picture, right, of Charles Blaschke, who passed away earlier this month at 77. A seasoned fisherman and hunter, Charles was a fixture on the DC ed scene dating to his time in the Johnson Administration and at OEO.

He founded TURNKEY Systems, a precursor to much of today’s ed tech work, and was an astute observer and analyst of the education scene and the policy environment and Washington’s footprint in schools around the country.

This picture here was taken on a trip in Florida. I originally posted that it was near Machipongo, on the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay near its mouth, where he kept a home.

More on Charles’ life and remembrances here.



August 28, 2018

Ward & Schiess On Leadership – CTE, Health Insurance, DeVos, And What Did You Do On Summer Vacation?

Tresha Ward on retaining good teachers as a school leader:

At the start of my first year as a principal, I hired a team of twenty one. By the end of the school year, only seventeen remained. Of the seventeen, only seven continued on into the following school year. While some of the seventeen were let go, I knew that too many of them had quit..

I felt frustrated and exhausted. I remember taking those seven remaining teachers out for dinner and asking them: “Why did you stay?” Their responses became my first leadership lesson as a new manager: They said: “We were the ones you invested in,” “we were the ones you trusted and gave leadership to,” and “we were the ones who you showed that you cared [about personally].”

This was hard to hear but true: these were the teachers who I invested in more, trusted, and encouraged, especially when they were struggling. I was thankful for this feedback. Moving forward, I tried each year to create this feeling for my whole team and not just a select few.

Jenn Scheiss on principal turnover – it’s not what you may have heard.

A lot of the Gates Network For School Improvement sites were sort of an open secret because no one can keep their mouth shut when then win something like this and have money about to rain down on them. But they’re public today.

More from Alan Golston on that.

CTE Playbooks from ExcelinEd.

Health insurance costs going up up up up up. $2300/head is a lot of money anywhere, especially in places with school funding crunches.

This is a really interesting interview with Francis Fukuyama.

When the vote is that razor thin isn’t everyone voting aye the decisive vote? Also, Betsy DeVos and school visits, always good for a debate.

Summers off!


Edujob: Chief School Officer @ Rocketship

Here’s an innovative edujob in a leading edge school network: Chief School Officer at Rocketship. You can work from Washington, DC or the Bay Area.  From the JD:

…The CSO will manage Rocketship’s schools and achievement teams; make Rocketship a model for personalized learning and student achievement performance among charter schools and traditional districts, and help Rocketship replicate its catalytic impact in San Jose in each of its current and future regions.

The CSO will also manage Rocketship’s integrated special education (ISE) team, which is responsible for ensuring that Rocketship serves all students with all needs (mild to moderate to severe) in a high-quality manner in a meaningful inclusive, environment. Approximately, 10% of the overall population is considered special education students and depending on the region or school can be closer to 15-20%.

Finally, the position will manage Rocketship’s personalized learning team, which is responsible for innovating upon Rocketship’s school model and in the process further elevating our results, personalized approach, and opportunities for our Rocketeers to receive an education comparable to their most affluent peers…

You can learn more and learn how to apply here.


August 27, 2018

Bellwether On The Teacher Leader Pipeline, Brown Interviews Westover, Job Corps, Strike Coverage, More…

This week on Bellwether’s blog, Ahead of The Heard, we’re going to highlight a range of talent and human capital issues affecting the teacher and school leader pipeline. Today Katrina Boone talks about how history is not when it comes to efforts to diversify the teaching force. And Kaitlin Pennington and Alexander Brand revisit their analysis of exit interviews of D.C. teachers.

Catherine Brown talks with Tara Westover – really interesting.

Here’s one where the PR consultant says, I’ve got good news and bad news. Good is we’re on the front page of the Times…bad is….Anyway, this is not a great story for Job Corps.

Teacher strike coverage media analysis.

Shemeika Copeland.


Edujob: Associate Program Officer – Place Based Delivery @ Gates Foundation

As you may have heard, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is making a big bet on place-based delivery of education. And they’re hiring, here’s a role they hope to fill quickly: Associate Program Officer – Place Based Delivery.

We are currently seeking an exceptional Associate Program Officer (APO) to support the Networks for School Improvement (NSI) strategy with the K-12, Place Based Delivery team. The APO will be responsible for utilizing research, data analysis and project management to support the NSI Request for Proposal (RFP), and the NSI Community of Practice, as well as other work meant to further the goals of the PBD team.

Learn more and apply here.


August 24, 2018

Pistol Betsy! The Local Control Unicorn Is Spotted Again. TX Spec Ed, SALT And Scholarships, And A New Game From Bellwether…Violet Grohl…More!

Jason Weeby on some interesting Chicago lessons.

At Bellwether we do a lot of work on disconnected youth and we’ve built a game to help drive home the challenges – and the range of solutions to them – these students face. Join us for the launch in DC.

Betsy Get Your Gun:

So everyone is up in arms about Betsy DeVos’ plan to arm teachers. And the “Trump-DeVos plan to arm teachers” is an excellent talking point. Except it’s really not her plan, a few states asked if they could use federal funds for this (probably a useful thing to FOIA those SEA’s about by the way). I don’t know what the Department of Education will decide in the end, but the whole episode is sort of nuts.

I’m on record as saying this is idea of arming teachers is an especially dumb one in a sea of pretty lousy ones lately. And don’t take my word for it, most of the people who think it’s a good idea are the couch commando wannabe types. Real commandos think it’s insane, too. But, it is the law and practice in some places now. That’s a fact on the ground.

That’s why…this is local control folks. You can’t be for local control except when locals want to do things you don’t like. That’s not being for local control or listening to what educators’ want, it’s for being for people doing what you want. And it’s more or less everyone’s position. It’s human nature. And stuff like this points up just how much local control is a relative and positional value, not a real one. Everyone is for it and romanticizes it…until people want to do stuff they don’t like.

We’re talking about guns here, but we could be talking about any range of issues. Hard to miss though that no one really gets up in arms any more about local control when it means underserving historically disadvantaged groups in education – just about stunts like this.

In other news, a lot of money being thrown at school security.

School improvement networks are going to be a hot thing – here’s a lit review.

Those tax credit scholarship programs are in the crossfire of the back and forth with states and Treasury on SALT. Also one more example of where the Trump Education Department and the Trump Treasury Department are misaligned as well.

Keep an eye on this Texas special education situation – more complicated than it’s been made out to be. Over-identification as a big an issue as under-identification.

Virginia kid and his daughter make great music. 


Friday Fish Pics!

Bill Hughes is a former school district superintendent in Wisconsin and a keen observer of the education scene there. He now works with Seton Catholic Schools. Cross silo, we like that around here.

Here he and his grandson are fishing – on public land – in Wisconsin. Scout Lake in Greendale. Word is the trip was  a blast, the fishing was good. Target spices: Bluegills!

And apparently Bill fell in at one point, no doubt to the delight of his grandkids who now have one more reason they can’t wait to go fishing again. Summer is not over yet if you want to take a kid fishing.

Want more pictures of education types fishing and with fish. OK! Here are hundreds of them. Send me yours!


August 23, 2018

Benefits Eating Classroom Dollars, A Lot Of Charter Debate, Pistol Betsy, And Science Of Learning With Yellow Yellow, More!

In a lot of states teachers are saying they are not getting raises and legislators are saying but we’re giving you increases in comp. In some places spending isn’t growing at all. So often everyone is telling the truth but missing the bigger picture. A new report from Bellwether and TeacherPensions.org explains why:

We found that nationally benefit spending is up 22 percent compared with only a 1.6 percent increase in K-12 spending overall from 2005 to 2014. As a result, the share of national education funding spent on benefits jumped from 16 percent in 2005 to over 19 percent in 2014. In the aggregate, more than $11 billion fewer dollars made it to the classroom.

And here are Chad Aldeman and Max Marchitello with some solution ideas.

Pride of Darden and Bellwether summer fellow Lea Nieuwoudt on what to expect when you’re expecting a turnaround.

Here’s Achievement Network (Bellwether client) on how to do assessment right – instruction first. Important paper because it shows the distance between best practice and current practice in a lot of places and how that fuels problems in schools and in our politics.

This podcast is great, this season looks good. 

Can school districts run autonomous schools that capture some of the benefits of chartering?  I like to think so – and there are some examples – but nothing at scale and here’s a new report from PPI offering some skepticism on the whole idea. Important conversation to have because while “do both” is the kind of thing people say to sound reasonable, an effective strategy requires making some choices.

Related, here’s a CRPE deep dive on 18 cities and some lessons learned. 

Profile of Peoples Prep in Newark.

Some fact checking by Peter Cunningham. And Amy Wilkins:

Educational justice, equity and integration are goals toward which my family, like Ms. Kaplan’s, has pressed for generations. But in my almost 30 years of working on school reform, I’ve been to far too many “integrated” schools where injustice thrives — by design. Many are really two schools in one: a school in which the white students are enrolled in Advanced Placement classes and one in which students of color languish in low-level and remedial courses.

Gary Hart reflects on California’s charter law.

Updated Fordham analysis on the state of state standards. And here’s another state with an education themed political race: Wisconsin. 

Glock DeVos. Also, there is this.

Science of Learning: The legend of Yellow Yellow.