Robin V. Harris has a great story about Polly Williams, considered the “mother of school choice,” a Milwaukee-area Democrat, black activist and community organizer, and the longest-serving woman in the Wisconsin state legislature.
Here’s a cool data visualization tool from the Urban Institute that lets you look up individual schools to see how student demographics have changed over time.
Speaking of diversity, a new study finds that voters in local school board elections often look very different than the student body in their school district. As Matt Barnum notes in his Chalkbeat write-up, part of the problem is due to school board elections being off-cycle from national presidential elections. The smaller, less-diverse turnout in school board elections tends to elect less-diverse school board members who, in turn, support policies that are less likely to benefit black and Hispanic students.
Timothy Shanahan on the “last mile problem” in reading instruction.
Brandon Lewis on how districts can differentiate their own local school rating systems from the ratings put out by their state.
Checker Finn compares the quality checks on test-based accountability systems versus subjective evaluations of student work:
When we seek alternatives to the proctored and monitored exam form of high-stakes accountability, however, the challenges multiply. Nearly always, those alternatives—whether classroom work, teacher-administered exams, student projects, performances, portfolios, you name it—are judged subjectively, almost always by adults who know the kids’ identities and academic track records, and most of the time by adults who also have reasons to seek student success, whether it’s because they care about a kid passing and graduating or they’re being hassled by parents or principal or they know that the school’s passing or graduation rate is on the line.
–Guest post by Chad Aldeman