Opt Out? Why Not? Rangers Lead The Way! ESEA?, NYT, Criticizing Success Academy Is Hardly A Risky Career Move In NYC!, The De Blasio Hustle?, New On NBCT, Michelle Rhee, Bev Purdue To Whiteboard, Whitmire Puts His Candler On In USAT, Sober Teach For America & Aldeman, Ticking Clock & Ticking Off Parents

On testing opt-outs, seriously, why not? Many of my friends working in traditional public schools see allowing opt-outs as a big unravelling but not sure the alternative is all that sustainable (and I don’t see a tidal wave of opt-outs coming anyway). Besides, I’m not sure a lot more unbundling wouldn’t be positive for students. And the opt-out “movement” is a hodgepodge of professional malcontents, genuinely concerned parents, life’s perpetually angry types, and assorted hangers on. Why throw fuel at that? Let ’em go.

Rahm wins in Chicago. Teachers union partisans wondering how, they don’t know anyone who voted for him…

Do they even make pocket squares for pajamas? Justin Cohen is blogging!

New ESEA bill coming in the Senate. Forthcoming Whiteboard Insiders survey still shows a lot of skepticism ESEA can happen during this administration. The basic problem is that for No Child Left Behind to be overhauled a lot of things have to go right – for the process to stall just one of them has to go wrong. This doesn’t help either.

Could ed tech be the thing that cracks the gender wall in technology?

Bellwether’s team of fifty is a blast to work with if you thrive in a fast-paced but very flexible work environment where intellectual diversity is encouraged. My team is hiring a new AP, pretty crux role in how we operate, great opportunity. Apply asap.

Not sure what to think of this big NYT story on NY’s Success Academy from yesterday. If the schools are so rough on kids why are 20,000 plus on waiting lists to get in? And why do some prominent people in the education world send their own kids there? [Update: One weighs in here.] On the other hand, some of what’s in the story is not new but is disconcerting. But, the blind quotes are unsettling – especially since they all skew one way. The Times is basically alleging somewhat abusive practices but doing so using only anonymous sources because, “These former teachers said they feared hurting their future job prospects by disparaging a former employer or by being identified as critics of charter schools.” Please. Being a charter critic in The Times is a good career move in New York! This is a reason for anonymity one step removed from, “these sources requested anonymity because it’s a hassle to deal with angry emails and tweets…”* And it seems disproportionate to what’s being claimed – especially when paired with The Times’  trolling request for more anonymous stories on their website. That’ll generate a representative sample! In any event, if the big thing people want to go after Eva Moskowitz for is that there is a lot of discipline in her schools then they’re misreading the public and parental mood.

Here’s some good news for NBCT teachers – the certification offers a slight bump in student test score performance – though not for all NBCT’s.  Open questions: Why is modest performance like this good enough reason to support the National Board but not good enough for Teach For America – in the eyes of the very same people? Turnover sounds like a legit issue to raise,** other objections a lot more ideological. Also, is the National Board test really just an expensive signaling system? The cost-benefit question remains…

Pension reform, Rangers lead the way?  And how did we get here anyway?

If Kentucky ends up being illustrative the Common Core folks may have less to worry about than assumed? Richard Whitmire is in the no lousy schools club. Chad Aldeman is all sober and adult about the Atlanta cheating scandal. Dude has no future on Twitter.

Is New York’s teacher test discriminatory? Ask Kimba Wood. Bev Purdue, former Dem governor of North Carolina and a great person, is joining Whiteboard Advisors.

I’ve always been surprised that this parent teacher conference issue in places like NYC doesn’t get more attention. It’s one of those things that drives parents nuts and seems like low-hanging fruit for critics of teachers contracts – five minutes or less to talk about your child? How to alienate people from public schools in three easy steps…

Panorama Ed*** has a new family survey tool out. Here’s a not encouraging dispatch from the frontline of educational gaming. “World of schools is big and insane, and totally out of reach.” Yeah, and that’s not even the hardest part. For all the howling at the moon about privatization this is more the reality of the sector. Full disclosure: My kids absolutely love that ecosystem game so I’m hopelessly biased there, and I’ve consulted for Amplify about their games, too.

Wondering what Michelle Rhee Johnson has been up to? This might be a clue.

The other day a New York education type called this issue the “De Blasio hustle.”  Basically, attack the test for competitive entrance schools in New York City under the guise of minority under-representation but in practice as an effort to help affluent mostly white parents who would likely benefit most absent the test. Progressive!

Seems like there is a gap between all the crazy talk about the Walton Family Foundation**** and what they actually do.

John McWhorter on the UVA – Rolling Stone episode and larger implications. Tom Kane on evals and the NY ed circus.

*I’m not against blind sources, but it seems that when someone is making accusations the bar should be higher?

**Speaking of TFA, I had dinner with the CEO and leadership of an ed tech company the other night and they were taking about why they don’t like TFA. Their issue was the model and the incumbent turnover, which they feel is bad for the profession. They acknowledged the test score gains, secondary impact of TFA alums, and all the rest but didn’t like this issue – that to them was a primary one. It was a refreshingly candid and productive discussion grounded in actual facts. I was struck by how different it was than most TFA discussions you find yourself in. I don’t want to name the company in case they later want jobs in New York. Bellwether recently did a research project for Teach For America.

***Not a BW client (but kinda wish they were).

****BW client/funder.

4 Replies to “Opt Out? Why Not? Rangers Lead The Way! ESEA?, NYT, Criticizing Success Academy Is Hardly A Risky Career Move In NYC!, The De Blasio Hustle?, New On NBCT, Michelle Rhee, Bev Purdue To Whiteboard, Whitmire Puts His Candler On In USAT, Sober Teach For America & Aldeman, Ticking Clock & Ticking Off Parents”

  1. I am not sure the “opt out” of testing is a smart move. I feel that teacher should look at alternative ways to change the importance of testing

  2. Tom Kane strikes out again.
    (or why does Harvard the rousting spot for so many wrong ideas)

    According to the report, 5 percent of New York’s “tested” teachers were found to be either “Developing” or “Ineffective” two years in a row on the state’s growth rating. It seems to me that this is very reasonably aligned with a 4 percent of teachers getting an overall rating of lower than “Effective.”

    I mean, this is the whole point of Kane’s vaunted “multiple measures,” right? That we didn’t want to hurt the profession by letting statistical noise dictate decisions? That we should have a pattern of poor performance before we make a high-stakes decision, and it should be corroborated by multiple assessments of a teacher’s performance?

    Well, then, what’s the problem? 5 percent of growth-measured teachers get “Developing” or worse for two years in a row; 4 percent are rated overall “Developing” or worse. Seems to me the system is doing exactly what it was designed to do.

    And when I say “designed,” I mean exactly that. These measures are normative, meaning they yield roughly bell curve-like distributions. We call the bottom 5 percent “bad” because they are the bottom 5 percent. If we raised the overall effectiveness of the teaching corps in New York so that the average student passed Algebra II at age 9, we’d still say the bottom 5 percent of teachers were “bad” because their students weren’t passing Calculus. It’s all relative.

    What we’ve got here is yet another example of someone — again, a very smart someone — looking at the performance of children on academic measures from the outside in and not seeing how the entire system may affect outcomes.


  3. Gov Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) The common core tests are meaningless for students and are just for the purpose of evaluating teachers.

    Why are students taking meaningless tests?

    Why are taxpayer funding ($32 M) meaningless tests?

    Why are teachers evaluated using meaningless tests?

    Even more important: Why are the tests meaningless?

    Cuomo is going to choke on these damning words.

    One more question:

    Why isn’t this headline blaring from the NY Post, Daily News, and Newsday?


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