Nov 07 2013

On the latest D.C. NAEP Miracle

Today the results from the 2013 NAEP came out, and ‘reformers’ everywhere are celebrating the amazing gains by states with an aggressive reform agenda.  In 2011, the average national score for the four main NAEP tests (4th grade reading, 4th grade math, 8th grade reading, and 8th grade math) was about a 250, with the…

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Nov 05 2013

New TFA Miracle Claims

Today TFA released their annual letter.  Looking at the announcement of the letter on their website, I saw this image, which shows all the aspects of TFA’s influence, though, to me, it looks a lot like what you see on the wall of a police department as they are investigating a crime and hanging up…

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Nov 05 2013

Closing (The Achievement Gap) Bad

So if you’re wondering why I’ve slowed down a bit on blogging lately, there are a bunch of reasons.  One is that I’m happy about the amount of coverage phony ed reform is getting by not just other bloggers, but even in the main stream media.  A lot of my blogging stems from the feeling…

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Oct 25 2013

The Latest New Orleans Miracle

Anytime there is a press release from the Louisiana Department of Education, I know I have some work to do. Two years ago it was how the RSD had the highest percent growth even though that statistic is exaggerated for districts with low baseline scores.  One year ago it was the ‘growth’ of their ACT…

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Oct 19 2013

The Death of math

Galileo once wrote “Mathematics is the language with which God has written the universe.”  It is said that over the door of Plato’s Academy were the words “Let no one ignorant of geometry enter.”  Indeed, the word ‘Mathematics’ comes from Ancient Greek meaning “that which is learnt.” Few people love Mathematics more than I do.  What…

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Oct 10 2013

Common Core vs. Common Sense

Four times a year the American Federation of Teachers publishes a magazine called American Educator.  Though I generally like what they have to say in this publication, I was somewhat disturbed by the cover story of the recent issue.  The article, which you can read online, is called ‘Letting the Tet Take Center Stage.  How…

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Oct 07 2013

Saving Public Ryan

There’s nothing more dangerous than a first year TFAer who is having an easy time.  And don’t tell them that they’re having an easy time or they will protest that it is not easy, but actually the toughest thing they’ve ever done in their lives.  But the fact is that although most new TFAers are…

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Oct 04 2013

The Id, The Ego, and The Super-Rhee-go

Reformers have been obviously working on re-vamping their public images.  People are tiring of their empty promises, their overly simplistic remedies, and their unwillingness to engage in an honest discussion about what is and isn’t working.  So the reformer’s reformer, Michelle A. Rhee, my old acquaintance from when I worked with her at the 1996…

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Sep 26 2013

You always know just what to say

Over the last few weeks I’ve noticed a change in strategy in the way many ‘reformers’ have been presenting themselves publicly.  It seems that they have begun to realize, especially with the release of the new Ravitch book, that the public is wising up to their antics and starting to get very frustrated by the…

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Sep 23 2013

Polis Joke

Jared Polis is a Democratic Colorado Congressman.  He recently had this interchange with Randi Weingarten on Twitter about Diane Ravitch. Though this caused a backlash, he seems to be standing by his comment.  This ordeal has been well documented by Jersey Jazzman and Jonathan Pelto. Polis is a charter school supporter and has opened a…

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A report was recently released which according to some TFA defenders “settles the issue” about the effectiveness of Teach For America teachers.  By comparing the standardized test scores of TFA teachers with varying amounts of experience to non-TFA teachers teaching in the same buildings, the study concludes that the students of TFA secondary math teachers…

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Sep 17 2013

Let It Reign!

The reformers can wait for Superman all they want.  We’ve got Wonder Woman. ‘Reign Of Error:  the Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America’s Public Schools,’ released today, is what Arne Duncan would call a ‘game changer.’  This will bring a new and wider audience to Dr. Diane Ravitch’s analysis of the…

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Aug 20 2013

The Underachievement School District

If you’re a parent, a student, or a teacher, the last thing you want to hear is that the state you live in has been commended by Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, as a ‘reform’ leader.  This has been occurring recently in the state of Tennessee. The state education commissioner of Tennessee is former TFA…

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The hardest thing about trying to have an intellectual debate with ‘reformers’ is every time they start to lose, they try to change the rules. First they say “poverty doesn’t matter” and when it becomes clear that it does, they start saying “Well, it matters, but we still need to make schools as good as…

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About a year and a half ago, The Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) contacted me to ask if I’d write something for the new teacher edition of the magazine Educational Leadership.  So I wrote something called ‘The Don’ts And Don’ts Of Teaching’ about the sorts of mistakes that new teachers are prone to,…

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Aug 13 2013

How To Define ‘Success’?

The new and improved New York State tests have arrived and the higher standards have taken much of the air out of many charter chain’s balloons.  Schools, in particular, from KIPP and Democracy Prep have seen their status change from ‘above average’ to ‘below average’ overnight, at least based on the ‘reform’ definition of quality.…

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I’m doing another Spreecast show this Wednesday and I’m excited to announce a very special guest, Dr. Camika Royal.  She is awesome and definitely one of the wisest voices in the education discussion today.  She is often on Huffington Post Live, and always steals the show.  It should be great. If you have a web-cam,…

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Aug 09 2013

My New eBook Available On Amazon

But it’s not the book you book think. People who like this blog would probably like to see a book about my ed reform tales and research, and I have actually started that book a few times.  I even have a working title, something like, “The Attempted Hijacking of American Education:  How I helped a…

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Aug 09 2013

Driven by data … right off a cliff

Yesterday the big announcement in New York was the results of the latest ‘common core aligned’ state tests.  As expected, the scores plummeted.  The New York Times reported that from last year to this one, the percent of students scoring ‘proficient’ on English dropped from 47% to 26% while the percent scoring ‘proficient’ on Math…

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Aug 01 2013

Villanueva-Beard Strikes Back

A few weeks ago I wrote a post called ‘TFA co-CEOs vs. The Boogeyman’ in which I challenged Elisa Villanueva-Beard’s frequent use of the term ‘status quo’ to define people who are opposed to unproven theories of the corporate reformers, many of them TFA alumni.  I wrote that this was an unfair, and untrue, phrase…

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By a somewhat frustrated 1991 alum

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