October 17, 2018

October 16, 2018

Janus Part Deux! 21st Century Skills, Chu, Mead, GLSEN Data, Accountability Games, More!

Sara Mead on what it takes to build a profession – more than saying so – and what that means for early ed.

We’ve talked before about the next round of litigation coming post-Janus. It’s starting. The retroactive dues case seems hard to square – if you can’t operate under an existing Supreme Court precedent on something, even one some justices have signaled they’d like to overturn, then what rules exactly should you use? A lot of legal experts say it’s a long shot but one union lawyer I know said they were quite concerned the retroactive cases could prevail. And the unions seem concerned about it, too, because they’ve been trying to settle some of these as one-offs.

Speaking of legal experts, they seem skeptical on the exclusive representation argument. I’m not a lawyer, though I’ve taken just enough con law and ed law to be dangerous, and I don’t get why this wouldn’t be a winnable case. If five justices found a free speech right to overturn agency fees it seems more than plausible this court can find a free association rationale around exclusive representation doesn’t it?

A lot of people have warned – for instance here’s a warning from the AFT – that teaching “21st Century Skills or for that matter 3rd Century BC skills is a bigger challenge that most of the boosters allow. This new paper from CRPE gets at that and has some ideas for how to do better.

Annual GLSEN data about school climate for LGBT students.

Here is someone with some fortitude or a lot of time on their hands to dig through all the games about school accountability ratings. The case here is VA, but it applies in many states and is one reason a lot of people support letter grades even with all the problems a simplified system can’t account for.

Dale Chu on big system leadership.

Student with ADHD launches company – with revenue – to help others.

Crowd sourced work or micro tasks are going to become a feature in the education world, too. Here’s some generalized data and challenges.

This report couldn’t have a sleepier title but it’s an interesting look at knowledge sharing globally in education.

#25 talks race, hockey, and kids.

Glen Campbell.

October 10, 2018

Video Games, Student Mobility, Learning Styles, Field Trips, Tree News, More!

We recently built a video game at Bellwether. Here’s a look behind the scenes at how we did that.

President Trump writes today in USA Today that:

The truth is that the centrist Democratic Party is dead. The new Democrats are radical socialists who want to model America’s economy after Venezuela.

What’s going to make the country economically like Venezuela – and a lot of other countries around the world – is a vanishing middle class, stagnant social mobility, and a secessionist upper class that lives walled off, literally, from its fellow citizens. A key piece of that puzzle, though not the only one, is schools and how educational opportunity is distributed.

I’m biased, but this 74 look at San Antonio is terrific. And so is this deep dive on student mobility by Erin Richards of the MJS.

Ted Kolderie with some ideas to get the education world unstuck and focused on progress.

Here’s a round up of state tax code changes in response to the tax bill’s change to 529s and private schools. Flashback here.

Chad Aldeman pines for stories like this.

This is an interesting argument: More spatial reasoning needed.

Willingham throws cold water on learning styles.

John White on education politics.

Good Jay Greene interview.

What’s going on with homework?

Around here we used to talk about the education love that couldn’t speak its name in Dem circles. Was reminded of that when reading this, it makes me like Beto O’Rourke more but I suspect it may make some of education’s anti-charter jihadis like him less. By the way, this ad against O’Rourke’s opponent is hilarious.

Did you know that Mathematica is employee owned? Good reminder that ownership and operating structures are often more interesting than just whether they’re for profit or not for profit.

Here’s more and yet more on the Sokal redux episode.

Have You Ever Seen The Rain?

Posted on Oct 10, 2018 @ 10:29am

October 5, 2018

October 3, 2018

Data Infrastructure Matters! Schools And Ski Slopes, Suburban Charters, More!

Better data infrastructure sounds pretty sleepy and wouldn’t even make much of a band name. But as Hailly Korman explains, it’s awfully important.

Also, on data – DQC overview of legislative activity.

Tim Daly wants to rate schools like ski slopes, green, blue, black, and double black…based on their degree of difficulty in terms of the work students do. It’s an intuitive and plausible idea. Except what happens when the gaming starts, and a school starts telling parents, don’t worry, we’re a Rocky Mountains blue, which would be a black or double black back east? (And then the unschooling folks would claim they are like Europe where you can ski more on your own where you want…but let’s not torture this too much…) I’m good with any rating system that helps parents make heads or tails of what’s going on better than they can today, and Tim’s idea or something like it to measure power is a good one, but we shouldn’t confuse better reporting systems with solutions to the allergy to transparency and accountability that plagues the sector.

Speaking of, this Chris Minnich op-ed is important as is the underlying analysis. But, even when everyone can agree a school needs to improve, say a school with low status and low growth, little to nothing seems to happen more often than not. Arguing over the best measurement system is not a trivial issue, it matters a lot. But, we shouldn’t confuse better measurement systems with solutions to the allergy to transparency and accountability that plagues the sector…

Usually for-profit school providers hang together on the assumption that so much of the opposition is ideological that there is more to gain from strength in numbers than trying to win over the small crowd willing to parse different providers on their individual merits. Plus there is a little of the ‘who will sit with me at lunch’ thing going on. Anyway, maybe it’s because ECOT, the scandal plagued online school in Ohio has fallen apart, but in any event this op-ed putting distance between another Ohio virtual school and ECOT is interesting.

PPI on why the suburbs need charter schools.

Whatever you think of this batch of contemporary Sokal hoaxes, it’s a good reminder that although we hear a lot about “peer review,” it’s sometimes not as robust as one might think or hope. Never hurts to actually look under the label.

Affilia, a peer-reviewed journal of women and social work, formally accepted the trio’s hoax paper, “Our Struggle Is My Struggle: Solidarity Feminism as an Intersectional Reply to Neoliberal and Choice Feminism.” The second portion of the paper is a rewrite of a chapter from “Mein Kampf.” Affilia’s editors declined to comment.


October 1, 2018

Reading! Or Not. Cargo Cults, Common Core, Teacher Eval, More!

It seems like every few years some curious person in the media takes a look at why reading instruction is such a trainwreck, realizes it’s because the gap between research and practice is yawning, and then writes that up. Here’s the latest version, worth checking out.

Still, it’s important to remember that while this is a problem, amazingly we still have something of a partisan approach to reading lurking just under the surface, the field is allergic to science, etc…remarkably there has also been a lot of progress made. So sure, could be a lot better and needs to be, but has been a lot worse.

Here’s an attack on SGPs, “student growth percentiles.” They are not what a lot of people think, that’s for sure.

Here’s an attack on Education Cargo Cults. A title like this one that will get me to read every time. Well worth checking out.

Marc Tucker on the efforts to redefine NAEP standards.

RAND on what’s changing (and not) in classrooms in the Common Core era.

What’s up on teacher eval in LAUSD?

Drive By Truckers at the Capitol Theater. Today in school finance. Also, teachers, check this out:

September 28, 2018

Friday Fish Porn – South Platte

Joe Ventura works on comms at TNTP.

He has fantastic taste in music.

And he’s getting into fishing.

So a lot that we like around here.

He’s the guy on the left in this picture taken on the South Platte near Deckers while he was out with Kerry Caraghar. They got into brown trout.

You, too, can see a lot of fish without even pulling on waders. Just click here or also here for hundreds of education types with fish dating back to 2006 – the very first fish porn pic was Colorado native Jim Griffin, a guy I’ve been lucky enough to fish with a lot, with a rainbow. And we’ve featured a lot of Colorado pics over the years because the state’s waters are world class.

September 27, 2018

Where Are They Now? Plus Hamilton, Fernandez, TNTP, More!

The Hamilton education initiative is a great aspect of that show, Bellwether’s Lynne Graziano checked it out at D.C.’s Kennedy Center.

Bellwether’s Mary Wells talks with former Bellwether team member and current board member Tina Fernandez.

Stridency about yoga.

Tool kits for teacher prep.

I’d read this TNTP report, their work usually has impact. This one seems like a Rorschach test for what people believe going in, but will still shape the conversation and raises some important issues.

Long time readers remember the great One-L. She’s rocking it these days running the Knowledge Alliance. Don’t believe me? Here:

September 25, 2018

Film Screening!

On Thursday September 27th, Education Forward DC, the Greater Washington Community Foundation, and the DC Public Education Fund are hosting a screening of America to Me.

You’ve probably heard about the series, a ten-part docu-series about race and equity in America’s public schools. Same director as Hoop Dreams. It’s about a year in the life of people at a school outside of Chicago and is already occasioning a lot of conversation.

This screening is 6-8:30pm at Howard’s Cramton Auditorium. Panel discussion to follow with Arne Duncan, John King, Abby Smith, Amanda Alexander, and David Johns.

Open invitation but  you have to RSVP – do that by clicking here.

September 21, 2018

A Hard Look AT The CTE Consensus, Rebecca Kantar Wants To Transform Assessment, ICE & Schools, Paul Freedman, Kelly Robson, Grade Inflation, More!

Kelly Robson on “Rigged.” That’s the game Bellwether launched this week and Kelly explains why it’s more than a game – and why you should play if you work in or around this sector.

Kirsten Schmitz explains why pension policy is screwing up your commute in DC.

Rebecca Kantar wants to change assessment in the United States.

Missed this interesting interview with Paul Freedman when it ran this summer.

Thomas Dee and Mark Murphy on ICE and school enrollment.

CRPE* continues to put out interesting (and non-Kool-Aid fueled) work on personalized learning. 

New look at grade inflation that challenges some of the CW on that question.

Tough look at CTE.

Japanese lesson study between the pipes. OK, not exactly but here are some NHL players on learning.

Fleetwood Mac 1976.

*On the advisory board so hopelessly biased.