EFFECTIVE AND FLAWED SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT IDEAS
The Highest Performing Countries and Provinces Have Developed a Comprehensive Build and Support Approach to Upgrade the Teaching Profession and Build Continuous Improvement Around Powerful Content. A new extensive report Empowered Educators by the Learning Policy Institute and the National Center for Education and the Economy describes what the highest performing countries and states do supports a build and support approach to upgrade the teaching profession and invest in a comprehensive system to assist teachers in continuously improving their craft. http://ncee.org/empowered-educators/ You can find the general report, country reports, slides, videos, and the streaming of their conference on June 6th at http://ncee.org/empowered-educators/ They identified nine aspects of a systems approach to upgrade teaching and the teaching profession, all of which need to be addressed. Recruitment, preparation, induction and mentoring, on-going professional learning both individual and collaborative, appraisal and feedback, career and leadership development, curriculum, instruction, and assessment, and school funding and organization. The materials give specifics of what these jurisdictions did in each of these areas.
Learning Policy Institute Report on the Elements of Successful Professional Development. The Learning Policy Institute released a brief last week on effective professional development https://learningpolicyinstitute.org/product/effective-teacher-professional-development-brief They found that successful efforts included the following elements:
- Is content focused
- Incorporates active learning utilizing adult learning theory
- Supports collaboration, typically in job-embedded contexts
- Uses models and modeling of effective practice
- Provides coaching and expert support
- Offers opportunities for feedback and reflection
- Is of sustained duration
The report also contained suggestions for policies to improve practice.
John Hattie Outlines a Key Strategy to Improve Student Performance: a model of learning that takes into account students’ skills and knowledge, learning dispositions and motivation. https://ww2.kqed.org/mindshift/2017/06/14/how-do-you-know-when-a-teaching-strategy-is-most-effective-john-hattie-has-an-idea/?utm_medium=Email&utm_source=ExactTarget&utm_campaign=20170618Mindshift&mc_key=00Qi000001WzO2NEAV; http://www.nature.com/articles/npjscilearn201613?utm_medium=Email&utm_source=ExactTarget&utm_campaign=20170618Mindshift&mc_key=00Qi000001WzO2NEAV;
Incisive comments on accountability issues by Mathew DiCarlo–including the effect of individual scores versus school score measures: http://www.shankerinstitute.org/blog/improving-accountability-measurement-under-essa
The Importance of Team Building and Continuous Improvement Around identified Problems in Improving Instruction A very good argument for helping schools to solve educational performance problems by adaptive school strategies (team building and continuous improvement around identified problems) and implications for district strategies by renowned superintendent Joshua Starr: http://www.shankerinstitute.org/blog/organizing-adaptive-change-management
Two Articles by Professors at the Universities of Chicago and Buffalo Supporting the Importance of Building Relationships at a School: http://www.shankerinstitute.org/blog/preparing-future-leaders-building-relationships and http://www.shankerinstitute.org/blog/how-relationships-drive-school-improvement—and-actionable-data-foster-strong-relationships
Practicing What Is Being Taught By Connecting Curriculum to Professional Development Yields Results http://www.aspendrl.org/portal/browse/DocumentDetail?documentId=2969&download&admin=2969|3571821778
The Case for Community Schools as a Strategy for Improving School Performance. https://learningpolicyinstitute.org/product/community-schools-equitable-improvement-brief
The Problems with School Closures as a Remedy for Low Performance. http://nepc.colorado.edu/publication/closures The authors conclude that school closures as a strategy for remedying student achievement in low-performing schools is a high-risk/low-gain strategy that fails to hold promise with respect to either student achievement or non-cognitive well-being. It causes political conflict and incurs hidden costs for both districts and local communities, especially low-income communities of color that are differentially affected by school closings. It stands to reason that in many instances, students, parents, local communities, district and state policymakers may be better off investing in persistently low-performing schools rather than closing them.
Another Article on the Mixed Reviews on School Closings. https://www.cabinetreport.com/facilities/closing-schools-gives-mixed-results-on-performance-savings
On the Other Hand, Focused Specific Guidelines Encouraging School-wide Planning, a Strategic View of the School Instead of Fragmentation, and Concentrating on Professional Development as well as Embeding Struggling schools with More Successful Schools in a Comprehensive Improvement Strategy Produced Results. A study of Kentucky focus schools by Stanford researchers. https://cepa.stanford.edu/sites/default/files/wp17-05-v201706.pdf Under waivers to the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act, the federal government required states to identify schools where targeted subgroups of students have the lowest achievement and to implement reforms in these “Focus Schools.” In this study, we examine the Focus School reforms in the state of Kentucky. The reforms in this state are uniquely interesting for several reasons. One is that the state developed unusually explicit guidance for Focus Schools centered on a comprehensive school-planning process. Second, the state identiﬁed Focus Schools using a “super subgroup” measure that combined traditionally low-performing subgroups into an umbrella group. This design feature may have catalyzed broader whole-school reforms and attenuated the incentives to target reform eﬀorts narrowly. Using regression discontinuity designs, we ﬁnd that these reforms led to substantial improvements in school performance, raising math achievement by 17 percent and reading achievement by 9 percent.
The Top Ten Research-based Reasons Why the Use of Large Scale Standardized Tests Should Not Be Used to Evaluate Teachers http://vamboozled.com/also-last-thursday-in-nevada-the-top-ten-research-based-reasons-why-large-scale-standardized-tests-should-not-be-used-to-evaluate-teachers/
CHARTER AND VOUCHER ISSUES
5 Key Questions to Ask Beyond Whether Charter Test-Scores in Annual Tests Increased. http://www.chalkbeat.org/posts/us/2017/06/15/beyond-the-test-score-horse-race-5-big-questions-researchers-are-asking-about-charter-schools/
How Some Non-Profit Charter Schools Game the System For Financial Self-Dealing. http://educationopportunitynetwork.org/are-nonprofit-charter-schools-a-distinction-without-a-difference/ Here is a quote from the article:
Quick, is this school a nonprofit or for-profit?
In the most recent financial filings available, the couple who run the chain of 18 schools pay themselves $315,000 a year plus nearly $39,000 in benefits. The school also employs their daughters, their son, and even a sister living in the Czech Republic.
Families who enroll their children in the schools are asked to contribute at least $1,500 a year per child to the school to fund its teacher bonus program. They also must pay a $300 security deposit, purchase some books, and pay for school activities that would normally be provided free at a public school.
The school chain contracts its operations to a management company, also owned by the same couple. In the most recent financial accounting available, the management firm received $4,711,699 for leased employee costs and $1,766,000 for management. Nearly $60 million total was charged to the management corporation to provide services to the schools.
After 2009, the owners made a legal change that made it possible to hide from the public much of the school’s financials, including their salaries and expenses. But what we do know is that between 20012 and 2015 administrative costs of the schools were some of the highest in Arizona, where most of the schools are located, spending an average of $2,291 per pupil on administration compared to $628 per pupil spent by the average public school district in the state.
How For-Profit Charters Are Ripping Off California Taxpayers by California Legislator Kevin McCarty. http://www.sacbee.com/opinion/op-ed/soapbox/article154084079.html
How Some Charters Extract Money From Their Employees. https://schoolfinance101.wordpress.com/2016/12/12/the-charter-school-company-store/
South Carolina Has Invested $350 million in On-line Charters With Terrible Results http://www.postandcourier.com/news/south-carolina-s-online-charter-schools-a-million-investment-with/article_6539ef90-511f-11e7-adba-d706dfdb4027.html
Detroit Charters: Expensive But No Results http://www.freep.com/story/opinion/columnists/nancy-kaffer/2017/06/07/detroit-schools-charters/375076001/
Charters Don’t Help Students Most In Need http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/is-school-choice-just-expanding-privilege_us_5943d48ee4b024b7e0df4aff?section=us_education
Vermont Voucher Plan Pays Wealthy Parents to Attend Elite Private Schools. https://www.propublica.org/article/voucher-program-helps-well-off-vermonters-pay-prep-school-at-public-expense?utm_source=pardot&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=dailynewsletter
The Network for Public Education’s Position Statement on Charter Schools https://networkforpubliceducation.org/2017/05/network-public-education-issues-position-statement-charter-schools/
- An immediate moratorium on the creation of new charter schools, including no replication or expansion of existing charter schools
- The transformation of for-profit charters to non-profit charters
- The transformation of for-profit management organizations to non-profit management organizations
- All due process rights for charter students that are afforded public school students, in all matters of discipline
- Required certification of all school teaching and administrative staff
- Complete transparency in all expenditures and income
- Requirements that student bodies reflect the demographics of the served community
- Open meetings of the board of directors, posted at least 2 weeks prior on the charter’s website
- Annual audits available to the public
- Requirements to follow bidding laws and regulations
- Requirements that all properties owned by the charter school become the property of the local public school if the charter closes
- Requirements that all charter facilities meet building codes
- Requirements that charters offer free or reduced priced lunch programs for students
- Full compensation from the state for all expenditures incurred when a student leaves the public school to attend a charter
- Authorization, oversight and renewal of charters transferred to the local district in which they are located
- A rejection of all ALEC legislation regarding charter schools that advocates for less transparency, less accountability, and the removal of requirements for teacher certification.
Newark’s Charters Don’t Take Their Fair Share of Harder-to-Educate Students. http://jerseyjazzman.blogspot.fr/2017/05/facts-about-newark-charter-schools-that.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed:+blogspot/CqnJA+(Jersey+Jazzman)
Florida Takes the Lead as the State Most Hostile to Public Education in New Charter Expansion Bill http://curmudgucation.blogspot.com/2017/06/fl-death-to-public-education.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+blogspot%2FORjvzd+%28CURMUDGUCATION%29
THE IMPORTANCE OF PUBLIC SCHOOLS
Why We Should Care About Educating Other People’s Children. A great article by the renowned Arthur Camins. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/593ea655e4b094fa859f1a49 It is time to care about the education of other people’s children. Other people’s children are or will be our neighbors. Other people’s children – from almost anywhere in the United States and beyond – could end up as our coworkers. Other people’s children are tomorrow’s potential voters. How, what, and with whom they learn impacts us all. That is why we have public schools, paid for with pooled taxes. They are designed to serve the public good, not just to suit individual parent’s desires.
An Excellent Paper on the Early Support For Public Schools from the Federal Government Through the Land Grant Program. https://greatschoolwars.files.wordpress.com/2017/05/usher_paper_federallandgrants_041311.pdf
The foundation of our political institutions, it is well known, rests in the will of the People, and the safety of the whole superstructure, its temple and altar, daily and hourly depend upon the discreet exercise of this will. How then is this will to be corrected, chastened, subdued? By education—that education, the first rudiments of which can be acquired only in common schools.
Report of U.S. House Committee on Public Lands, 1826
From the late 18th century through the middle of the 20th century, the federal government granted control of millions of acres of federal land to each state as it entered the Union. These lands were given in trust, with the stipulation that proceeds from their sale or lease be used to support various public institutions—most notably, public elementary and secondary schools and universities. These state land grants have played an important role in the development of the American system of public education and continue to provide revenues to maintain that system today.
Leadership in Many States Hostile to Public Education Is Forcing Devastating Cuts by Jeff Bryant http://educationopportunitynetwork.org/our-school-funding-crisis-has-a-cause-bad-leadership/