Odds, Ends, And Goldstein!

We’ve had a lot of interesting guestbloggers through Eduwonk including teachers and administrators (kindergarten teacher Alice in Eduland is really up to some cool stuff these days) Steve Barr, Randi Weingarten, Chris Cerf, Diane Ravitch, Richard Whitmire, Michael Robbins, Eric Hanushek, Sara Mead and others but no one gets reviews and requests for encores like Michael Goldstein, the founder of the MATCH school in Boston and MATCH’s new graduate school of education.  So while I take a week away from the blog next week, he’s agreed to stop by to inform, entertain, and provoke you.  In other words, as longtime readers know, Goldstein’s gonna go wild.

New TNTP report coming about “the irreplacables” the teachers we can’t afford to lose.  Event in DC Monday July 30.

LA Times: Schools not told about test questions being posted online.  OK, but LA Times readers were told… And I heard about this from a few folks while calling around for this column a few months ago – and I live on the East Coast!

Also in CA, it’s obviously all about what’s best for the kids… Seriously, we can’t even reform the system to do more to make sure that adults who are dangerous to children are not near them? I know local teachers union leaders who are genuinely pained by the frequent assertion in the media that they would defend someone who abuses children.  But when stuff like this happens at the policy level it’s simply untenable and indefensible for everyone.

Don’t look for an ESEA reauthorization bill anytime soon – policy insiders are starting to talk about the next midterm election in the timeline – but in the meantime Morgan Polikoff and Andrew McEachin take a look at the lowest performing 5 percent and implications for accountability systems (pdf).

New York Charter School Center (BW works with them) has their new data report out, again let’s you slice and dice NY charter school data.   And new federal student loan rules here via Fed Register and some fiscal and marketing advice about them from Jason Delisle and Alex Holt here.

8 Replies to “Odds, Ends, And Goldstein!”

  1. There are presently strict laws in CA protecting children from sexual abuse. Any teacher or other adult suspected of abuse MUST be reported immediately to authorities outside of school (i.e. police). The adult is then placed on administrative leave while the investigation is pending. As soon as the person is convicted of sexual abuse, his credential is pulled and he loses his job automatically.

    We have seen from the Penn State scandal where the real problem is. Administrators often turn a blind eye to allegations made by students, teachers and parents. Employees such as teachers, custodians and aides are often pressured to “tell us [administrators] first” before going to police.

    In Cerritos CA, a principal called the police after an employee threatened to murder staff members, even though she was explicitly told not to do so by her superiors. She was immediately placed on administrative leave for insubordination and then demoted. Her lawsuit is now in the courts.

    Further investigations of the Miramonte and Penn State scandals will show that there are strict laws in place but those in leadership often ignore these laws. In the simplest language, the reputation of the school is often placed above the safety of the students.

    California lawmakers are smart enough to know that more laws are not needed but we do need a system of checks and balances to make certain these laws are obeyed.

  2. One of the most shameful aspects of the present “reform” is the fact that all the “accountability” is placed on teachers but not on the school leaders who are actually responsible for much of what happens.

    For example, when John Deasy was appointed superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District, his first task should have been to become familiar with CA laws so as to ensure the safety of students and staff and to provide taxpayers with reasonable assurance that children were learning. Instead, it was business as usual and so the suspected abusers at Miramonte School and other schools were allowed to teach behind locked doors (!!!!!) without even a modicum of supervision. This occurred despite two decades of complaints from students, parents and employees. Yes, a crime was likely committed by one or two teachers, but it was covered up by administration. Sound familiar?

    Also, there is some indication that Deasy didn’t even know about the forty-year-old Stull Act which required teachers to be evaluated according to the progress of their students. In my district this law was observed by everyone and so I had my “Stull Evaluation” every other year. “The unions” cannot bargain away state law.

    Deasy and his supporters are shamefully trying to pin the Los Angeles fiascos on “the unions” and the need for more laws, but the courts will exact penalities from those who are truly liable. That’s why the lawsuits are against administrators and the district, and not “the unions.” If we want “accountability” in Los Angeles, the people in charge should resign as they have at Penn State.

    “A lie travels half way around the world while the truth is still getting its boots on.” True, but the truth always prevails.

  3. Well, thank you for not labeling John Deasy “Dr.”, although now I think it is legit.

  4. Re: The TNTP Report–turns out, to no one’s surprise, one-half of TNTP’s Leadership Team are TFA alums, including the President. I’m certain their report will be factual and non-biased. Why do TFA’ers get all these jobs? I know, I know, rhetorical question and shut up, that’s why.

    TFA–proving once again, there’s more than one way to parlay a liberal arts degree into a sweet job with benefits “reforming” America’s schools.

  5. Atleast one of leaders of TNTP believes in Michelle Rhee’s Baltimore Miracle.

  6. The schools weren’t notified that they were involved. Deasey even said as much in the second article you linked.

    We aren’t allowed to strip the students of their cell phones. We sit there and monitor incessantly, but that doesn’t mean we can’t miss something.

    For the most part, the kids aren’t doing it to cheat, but simply to see if they can get away with it. That makes it worse.

    If the state isn’t going to officially ban cell phones, and require schools to expel any kid found with a cell phone during testing, then it’s all irrelevant.

  7. About standardized test questions not being all that bad and well, “What these officials should have done was shed some light on the situation, not only by correcting the record more aggressively, but by explaining that nothing makes its way onto standardized tests by accident.”

    Read more: http://ideas.time.com/2012/05/04/what-everyone-missed-on-the-pineapple-question/#ixzz21RDDAL3T

    Click into the West Virginia Department of Education website and see if you can answer the Grade 5 Science test question. There’s only one such question on this link. Oh, go on, you know you want to–it’s science! Hint: Galileo would not like the question. http://wvde.state.wv.us/teach21/westest.html

    Full disclosure: I actually help my district create such assessments and discuss with our stats people how good the tests are at measuring what we want them to. And I have to give kudos to those folks in my district, they are top-notch and a pleasure to work with. I notified the responsible person at WestEd about the question but as of today, it is still up. Mistakes happen and I’m glad Andrew ran down the rest of the story on Pineapplegate but see, most of us who have been teaching at least a few years have likely come across a stupid question or two. Or three. And stories like this one don’t surprise us and just speaks to the larger issue of just what do we think these tests are measuring and how much cultural or other kinds of bias are simply inherent in the process?

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