May 7, 2018

Guns And Schools, School Safety, Parkland Discipline And More! Plus – Are The Strikes Overplaying Their Hand, No Roadshow For Impact, More!

Bonnie O’Keefe and Aara Johnson in the MinnPost on multilingual ed.

In The 74 Drew Pache and I look at school safety and what schools can do to to improve security without terrifying kids or turning schools into bunkers.

Not a lot of enthusiasm for arming teachers. Revisiting the 1982 Lake Braddock school shooter episode in Virginia.

From Florida it turns out the Parkland shooter was involved in a controversial discipline program. School district shared that news over the weekend.

Millionaire secretary leaving a fortune to help students.

We’ve talked about how the teacher strikes are a pretty smart political strategy – until they overplay their hand. Rick Hess thinks that’s happening.

Trump – DeVos creating political headwinds for school choice but not as dramatic as some feared.

But in Ohio the Republican Party’s fealty to ECOT, a set of schools with some serious deficiencies might do them in reports 74.

Great moments in school leadership. This is unusual, most sup’ts don’t actually behave like their s**t doesn’t’ stink. Great moments in PTA work.

The rhetoric about IMPACT in DC is at odds with the evidence in a bunch of ways (look for something on that from Bellwether later this week). But that rhetoric keeps the idea from traveling. Jason Kamras says it’s not coming to Richmond. 

I don’t trust “Project Veritas” as far as I can throw them given their past work (and if they’re journalists then it means I’m an astronaut because I have some space memorabilia in my home office), but regardless of all that, this is still not a good look and can’t just be shrugged off as editing tricks. It’s probably indicative of why there is legal wrangling between teachers union leaders and Project Veritas in a few places over releasing videos like this. (Also, everyone in the ed game knows this stuff is a problem, but most are too scared to say so and/or do the difficult work of balancing legitimate due process concerns with a big step forward here. You know, kids first and all that.)

Charles Steger has passed. Washington Post obit of Ron Wolk, well worth checking out.

Tech will save us…

School Safety Without Scaring The Kids

In The 74 Drew Pache and I look at school security and safety strategies that don’t involve getting students overly anxious about gun violence.

Whether by design to spin up parents about guns and electoral politics or because of a lack of expertise in security, districts are responding to concerns about school shootings with measures that, however well-meaning, are doing more to scare kids than genuinely protect them.

Some of what we write about is just good education policy (small schools and more/better counselors) and some is security. You can read the entire column right here. 

May 3, 2018

Teacher Strikes And Teacher Pay, Nudges, Brookies, More!

Some new political polling – independents care more about education than you might think (it’s still an also ran but not as much as some years). Also, don’t miss the Arizona numbers, relevant to teachers union strategy there.

Speaking of the strikes, there is some confusion about various data being tossed around about teacher pay, state spending and so forth. When thinking about teacher salaries and comparisons it’s important to account for actual days worked – eg comparing a 190 or 200 day with a 260 day work year is problematic. Many analyses don’t account for this. Non-cash compensation, in particular health care and retirement benefits can also be a misleading point of comparison – thogh teacher retirement isn’t as good as commonly assumed it’s often just expensive. Basically, as with any comparison you want to go for apples to apples. And basically, you can do a lot worse than just follow @chadaldeman, who will break this all down for you in real time.

Hey, here’s Chad now on Arizona and Colorado.

Urban data on instructional materials.

One other thougth on this. I’ve always been struck at how reformers have consistently allowed themselves (not always undeservedly) to be painted as being against school spending. Money matters – and of course how it’s spent matters, too. And many reformers get that inequitable intrastate finance policies are a huge problem for students (and teachers), disadvantage low-income communities, and that the budget choices some states have made are a big problem, too (though that’s a more partisan issue). Reform + resources has always seemed like substantively and politically the way to go. Bill Clinton used to say we should invest more in our schools and demand more from them. Hard to argue with that.

Today in Civics ed. Today in gender ed.

Free nudge resources for schools.

Data action in the states.

This Nevada story is best taken with aspirin.

Virginia brookies are having a hard time, students are helping.

May 2, 2018

Mead On Japan’s Rental Family Business And Early Ed Implications. Really! Sierra Leickert On First Gen Students, Teacher Turnover, Teacher Pensions, California News, And More!

Sara Mead:

When I started reading Elif Batuman’s recent New Yorker piece on Japan’s rental family business, I expected it to be fascinating. What I didn’t expect was that it would offer striking insights on the currentdebate over credentials and compensation for early childhood workers in the United States…

Bonnie O’Keefe on co-teaching models for ELL and DL students.

Do not miss this essay by UVA graduate student and soon-to-be teacher Sierra Leickert on first generation students:

…the first time I set foot on the UVA campus, I absolutely fell in love. I felt there was nowhere quite like it — from the research and extracurricular opportunities to the academic rigor, UVA had everything I was looking for. I moved into my first-year dorm excited about the four years to come but quickly found myself feeling isolated. My hallmates and new friends would speak of the groups from home who had matriculated with them at UVA, and of the flexibility in their schedules thanks to the credits they had already earned because of the opportunities at their high schools. The majority of them came from affluent backgrounds, with parents who had gone to college.

I, on the other hand, was all alone. There were two of us from my high school, and we were not prepared in the same way…

Related, this new Pell analysis out from Third Way.

Pension finance lurking behind some of the teacher pay debate. And Medicaid spending creating pressure in state budgets.

Teacher turnover may not be what you think – but still makes great headlines.

Ed Week founder Ron Wolk has passed.

Provocative Marc Tucker.

Buzzy Kettleman on Maryland education. The California state superintendent race is getting pricey. Also in California – a new sup’t in LA. And the Los Angeles fiscal situation is probably bleaker than you thought.

The nation’s first school shooting?

Do more demanding standards cut down on drinking?

This is a crazy story – summer worker stays, becomes high school phenom, age issues catch up with him.

Whiter Shade of Pale.

April 26, 2018

Multi-Agency Coordination – More Exciting Than It Sounds! Dropout Data, Charter Growth, Getting Outside (Or Not), Esports, Charters, And More!

Hailly Korman on muti-agency coordination, why it matters for kids, and why schools are key. Here’s a longer Bellwether paper on this question released this week.

Did you know there are more college dropouts than high school ones? It’s true. Chad Aldeman on that.

Lina Bankert responds to Derrell Bradford on charters.

Sara Mead on the new “Power to the Profession” report.


Flying blind on higher ed.

Get kids outside. But that’s going to be harder to do when stuff like this is happening.

This is an actual press release.

Millennials and literature via a second generation education personality.

Charter schools get their just desserts! No, charter school deserts via Fordham.

The wayback machine on school choice.

Charter schools and discipline.

This is not a good signal for the teachers unions – and some evidence in their own polling that a Janus ruling is going to allow a not-insignificant share of their members who are either disengaged or discontented to bail out.

Feather theft.

April 24, 2018

Lousy Impact Aid Ideas, Romy Drucker, Tom Edsall, Bill Hughes, And Chad Aldeman Has Dragons. More!

Chad Aldeman and Arun Ramanathan on the “Silver Tsunami.” Bonus Game of Thrones references.

Romy Drucker on union organizing in charter schools.

This idea of turning Impact Aid into a voucher program completely misunderstands why Impact Aid exists and is the kind of idea that discredits school choice rather than advances it. If people want a voucher program for military families – not a totally off the wall idea given concerns about the quality of schools around some military facilities, then do that. But that requires new dollars not raiding Impact Aid.

This Tom Edsall analysis of intra-Dem tensions has some implications for education politics and policy.

Bill Hughes debriefs a school failure in Memphis.

A lot of interesting information in this CSGF annual report.

Wendy Kopp interview.

Rick Hess and Amy Cummings on Oklahoma teacher pay.

Tift Merritt.

April 20, 2018

Edujob: Deputy Director, Early & Elementary Education Policy @ New America

New America is hiring for a Deputy Director for their Early & Elementary Education Policy program:

New America’s Education Policy program uses original research and policy analysis to help solve the nation’s critical education problems, crafting objective analyses and suggesting new ideas for policymakers, educators, and the public at large. We combine a steadfast concern for historically disadvantaged populations with a belief that better information about education can vastly improve both the policies that govern educational institutions and the quality of learning itself.

You can learn more about New America and this role and apply via this link.


April 19, 2018

Candy Land Is Hell. Plus Pension Stories, Financial Literacy, Gun Anxiety, Jeb On NAEP, More!

We could all do with more financial literacy – Max Marchitello with the teacher angle on that.

The 74’s Bev Weintraub on Tammie Jo Shults: Good pilots are calm under pressure, she’s a very good pilot.

Pew with some troubling data on how scared kids are about gun violence at school. Troubling in no small part because it’s a level of anxiety entirely disproportionate to the threat. You might be surprised at the many things, from the too common – cancer and car accidents – to the unusual – becoming a child bride – that are more likely to happen to young people than being shot in school. It’s terrifying when it happens, yes, and we should improve policy here, yes, but we shouldn’t let that cloud our judgement in how we present this to kids.

Here’s an interesting analysis of boundary patterns and enrollment in DC schools.

Jeb Bush on NAEP and Florida.

Mike Antonucci takes a dimmer view of the Oklahoma strike. He’s right in terms of the facts on the ground – which were not well reported in many media accounts. But I’d argue the unions were in a heads they win, tails their opponents lose situation. There may be some momentary frustration but they were playing a longer game here.

These kinds of pension stories about outliers and weird spikes are hard to lay off of, so they get headlines and illustrate that pension plans are a lot more arbitrary than people think. But they’re not the core problem – the core problem in education is that traditional pensions are just a poor fit for the labor market today and need some updating.

Candy Land is hell. How to cheat at games with your kids.

Here is a SEAL seal with a knife.

Posted on Apr 19, 2018 @ 11:26am

April 17, 2018

High-Potential/Low-Income Students, Voucher Irony, Use The Quiet Car! More….

High-potential but low-income students are getting lost in the crowd, Tim Daly on that.

Times ethicist sums up the school choice debate:

If you just think the voucher program is bad policy, then join the campaign against it. That’s the right way to voice your judgments about the merits of educational policy. You don’t want to sacrifice your son’s education to abstract principle, especially given that you’re not going to end the voucher program by failing to make use of it.

This would make a great Peggy Noonan column: When you can’t even plot strategy in the First Class car on Acela without people eavesdropping on your call then all of our social norms are truly gone. 

“Crowd out” from pension and benefit costs is a real issue – but if it becomes partisan that’s going to make it even harder to solve.

Wasted and Rolling.  Office lizard.