Vision 2015 recaps milestones: not ONE of them mentions children or students. #netDE #truth

Powerful imagery here:


To help recap the milestones, here are some of the top education stories:

Looking ahead to 2013, we are excited about Delaware’s progress. More than two-thirds of the Vision 2015 recommendations are in motion, a tribute to our state’s collective willingness to provide every child with a world-class education – no matter his or her zip code. While this work is not flashy or fast, it’s moving forward with great momentum and purpose.  We are indebted to the dedicated educators, parents and community leaders who have come together to consistently put children first.

We have a unique opportunity to make a difference for the next generation and those that will follow. It’s up to all of us to keep pushing forward – celebrating our successes and learning from our challenges. We thank you for your contributions to this effort.

Have a wonderful holiday season!

I just don’t know what we would ever do without Vision 2015 looking out for the next Arne Duncan spotting, the closing of a legislative session (hint: it happens every other June 30th), communicating new Vision 2015 Leadership announcements, regaling us with a survey, or that the News Journal covered their own sad UD forum (Imagine!) puppet show with YES! Prep leadership from Houston, TX in a half full Clayton Hall sprinkled with DOE staffers snickering in the audience. Thank goodness Vision 2015 is on patrol. Oh, by the way, 730 days until they will have fixed education in Delaware, right? Vision 2015 dissolves then, right again?

Straight, No Chaser for El Somnambulo at DL #netDE #AuldLangSyne

Originally posted on Seattle Education:

This goes into the OMG category because that is what I kept saying to myself as I read this article.

From FireDogLake:

ACLU Wins Lawsuit Against Cory Booker, Forcing Release Of Emails with Facebook Executives

By: DSWright, posted on Wednesday December 26, 2012

It started on Oprah.

Facebook founder and Winklevii nemesis Mark Zuckerberg announced a $100 million donation to Newark schools to blunt PR damage from the release of The Social Network help school children. The money would not be going into the struggling city’s budget but would be privately controlled with Newark Mayor Cory Booker providing guidance.

Yes, money used to transform Newark public schools would be administered privately and, until recently, in secret from the people of Newark.

Privatizing schools in Newark was already a tough task this year after the crown jewel of charter schools in the city was caught up in a cheating scandal

View original 655 more words

Ed-Reformers often rely on tired and weak catch phrases like “No Excuses”. Check out the latest on the Community Education Building.

Seems they are having trouble embracing their own mantra (read the whole article here): 

The Community Education Building, Bank of America’s gift to Delaware’s charter school movement, will not open until the 2014-15 school year, 12 months later than planned.

The delay will allow the building’s operators to “get it done right,” said Riccardo Stoeckicht, Community Education Building president.

But the delay was a major reason for two new charter schools, which had hoped to lease space in the building, to defer their planned openings from 2013 to 2014.”

Last February, Bank of America announced that it was donating the building at 1100 N. French Street, known as Bracebridge IV when it was built in 1997 by the MBNA Corp., to the Longwood Foundation, which would transform it into a home for high-performing charter schools that would primarily serve lower-income Wilmington residents.  The foundation created the Community Education Building as a separate entity to oversee the facility

“The focus for this project is to facilitate delivery of a world-class education,” Stoeckicht said. “And we’re not going to deliver world-class education, it’s the schools” which are chosen to lease space in the building.

Several schools filed applications last summer to lease space in the building, which covers 281,000 square feet on nine floors. It is expected to host three or four schools and a total of about 2,400 students. Kuumba Academy, a charter elementary school now located at 519 N. Market St. in Wilmington, was the only applicant  to conform it had been selected.

Building Plans Affect Opening of Charter Schools

He would not discuss the status of other applications, saying that making any statements could impact others’ perceptions of the schools’ plans, but organizers of the First State Montessori Academy and Academia Antonia Alonso indicated that finding a home in the Community Education Building was part of their plans.

In a posting on the school’s website, Oliver Yeh, board chairman at First State Montessori, wrote that the school had applied for space at the Community Education Building but the review process determined that it was “not a perfect match.” Yeh’s message indicated that the school will seek other sites in the Wilmington area and may reapply at the Community Education Building.

Kathy Laskowski, a board member at Academia Antonia Alonso, a dual-language immersion elementary school program developed with the support of the Latin American Community Center, said site selection and the delay in the Community Education Building’s opening were factors in the decision to defer the school’s opening for a year.

Just look at the mad scramble and the leaderless building flailing to get it right. What will they ever say if the test scores don’t go up? Scratch “we opened on time” as a reason. I wonder how the schools vying for the space will do this year with their attentions divided on this obviously confused effort.

so much for the fierce urgency of now on the urban achievement gap, huh?

Fiscal Cliff. #netDE

Originally posted on Seattle Education:

From the Guardian, posted on 12/29/2012:

Revealed: How the FBI coordinated the crackdown on Occupy

By Naomi Wolf

There is a new twist: the merger of the private sector, DHS and the FBI means that any of us can become WikiLeaks, a point that Julian Assange was trying to make in explaining the argument behind his recent book. The fusion of the tracking of money and the suppression of dissent means that a huge area of vulnerability in civil society – people’s income streams and financial records – is now firmly in the hands of the banks, which are, in turn, now in the business of tracking your dissent.

It was more sophisticated than we had imagined: new documents show that the violent crackdown on Occupy last fall – so mystifying at the time – was not just coordinated at the level of the FBI, the Department of Homeland…

View original 1,023 more words

Students Evaluating Teachers

Originally posted on Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice:

Should K-12 student surveys of their teachers be used to determine whether they get a boost in salary or be judged effective or ineffective?


The emerging answer, according to Amanda Ripley’s recent article, is yes. Based on surveys given to students about their teachers over the past decade, student judgments about their teachers are highly correlated with test scores. In particular, researchers have found these questions on a 36-item survey to bear the highest association with test scores. (see preliminary-findings-research-paper-1, pp. 11-16)

1. Students in this class treat the teacher with respect.

2. My classmates behave the way my teacher wants them to.

3. Our class stays busy and doesn’t waste time.

4. In this class, we learn a lot almost every day.

5. In this class, we learn to correct our mistakes.

These questions measure classroom control and the degree to which teachers challenge students to work harder…

View original 618 more words

Online Courses: Cartoons

Originally posted on Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice:

Students OnLine Courses

U.S. schools, K-12 through higher education, are in the midst of another reform wave. From states mandating online courses as a requirement for high school graduation to university-driven Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), hyperbole-filled Kool-Aid mixed with stark fear fuel reform rhetoric about the impending “revolution” in teaching and learning. I offer my monthly feature* of how some cartoonists poke and tear at the rhetoric and realities of online courses.  Enjoy!








*For those who would like to see earlier posts of this monthly feature, see: “Digital Kids in School,” “Testing,” “Blaming Is So American,”  “Accountability in Action,” “Charter Schools,” and “Age-graded Schools,” Students and Teachers, Parent-Teacher Conferences, Digital Teachers, Addiction to Electronic DevicesTesting, Testing, and Testing,Business and Schools, Common Core Standards, Problems and Dilemmas, and Digital Natives (2).

View original

Why Do Smart People Do Dumb Things? Thinking about School Reform

Originally posted on Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice:

Examples are legion. Recall President Clinton and Monica Lewinsky. Or Director of the Central Intelligence Agency David Petraeus resigning over extra-marital affair. Or shrewd investors in Bernard Madoff’s company losing their financial shirts.

Switch to education and consider El Paso (TX) Superintendent Lorenzo Garcia who went to jail for inflating student test scores and giving a no-bid contract to his mistress.

OK, Larry, you made your point. People with smarts, power, and position caved in to their impulses. They did dumb things.

Actually, I want to go beyond that self-evident point made elsewhere and say that very smart educational policymakers also engage in folly not involving sex or money. Two stories make that point.

The first happened in New York City public schools in the early 1980s over abolishing “social promotion.” For many years, reformers had criticized educators for moving students to the next grade when they lacked the requisite…

View original 749 more words

Originally posted on Diane Ravitch's blog:

In an earlier post, I complained about the arbitrary ratios embedded in the Common CoreStandards for fiction and “informational text.” I asked who would police whether Mr. Smith and Ms. Jones was teaching too much or too little fiction.

Please read this exchange.

A reader commented as follows:

“You ask at the end of your post – “Whose wisdom decided on 50-50 and 70-30? Who will police the classrooms? Where is the evidence that these ratios are better than some other ratio or none at all?”

“If you read the ELA CC Standards in the introduction it clearly states the source which is:
Source: National Assessment Governing Board. (2008). Reading framework for the 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.

“Here is the link to the Reading Framework from the 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress

“When you read this – you will notice…

View original 156 more words

Originally posted on School Finance 101:

Here are a few quick figures that parse the disability classifications of children with disabilities served by charter schools in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Two previous posts set the stage for this comparison. In one, I explained how charter schools in the city of Newark, NJ, by taking on fewer low income students, far fewer LEP/ELL students and very few children with disabilities other than those with the mildest/lowest cost disabilities (specific learning disability and speech/language impairment) are leaving behind a much higher need, higher cost population for the district schools to serve.

Effects of Charter Enrollment on District Enrollment in Newark:

In another post, I walked through the financial implications of Pennsylvania’s special education funding formula and specifically the charter school special education funding formula on districts where large shares of low need disability students are siphoned off by charters and where high need disability students are left…

View original 1,081 more words

Pencader Prediction – Why Murphy Wins if He DOES NOT Revoke Their Charter

After reading my CSD BOE colleague’s excellent blog post about the possibility of a Pencader Charter High School charter revocation, I thought I’d pen the counterpoint to her well reasoned point. Here is my best shot at why Secretary Murphy wins if he does not revoke the charter and keeps PCHS open to serve its mission and children.

Pencader has had a rough 2012, no doubt about it. From the well documented school leader academic credential fiasco  to the dysfunctional and possibly to this day illegal yet sublimely entertaining BOD meetings (HERE and HERE) Pencader has unfortunately entertained the Delaware education world and thus its robust blogoshpere with aplomb usually reserved for Governor Markell bashing CSD and withholding federal funds all the while UPHOLDING the plan his DOE approved.

Anyways, much has changed in DE since PCHS’ first three formal reviews, most notably we have a new Secretary of Education, Mr. Mark Murphy. He hasn’t really made his defining moment from scratch and has mostly lingered in meetings, acting pensive while offering nothing offensive to rooms full of educators and administrators who all continue to wonder how and why he is running such a fantastically dysfunctional state department. Walking the line of not wanting to offend while proving he belongs is certainly becoming obviously difficult. So, the background leads us to the issue at hand: should PCHS survive its 4th Formal Review? Well, here is why it’s a win for Mr. Murphy if PCHS survives:
1. Pencader’s new board, supporters, and admin are new for the most part and they are not the same crew that scuttled the ship.
2. Murphy owns putting Pencader of FR IV.  He’s young in his position and this would be a fine first stand in defiant support of charters.
3. Murphy would always know Moyer is worse and could point to Moyer as a way to say that PCHS should obviously be left open.   And that will be on his shoulders and forever tied to his reputation.
4. Despite rumbling in some of DE’s higher performing charters, the DE charter network believes in all charter schools and this is a way to show unconditional support.
5.  Mr. Murphy would not EVER want to cede a point to charter critics: it weakens the movement and cannot be tolerated. This will make him a genuine hero in the DE Charter Network (of which Ann Lewis continues to be a member).
6. Take #s 4 and 5 together and Murphy has a win-win.  It’s his opportunity to support charters unconditionally and stick loud, critical bloggers in the eye with a hot poker.
7.  Pencader’s latest board must write a plan that will prove that the school can overcome its deficits.  Keeping the school open will allow the new board to become outstanding and high performing.

Mr. Murphy can strike a death blow to bloggers like Kilroy, myself and Ms. Scheinberg by casting aside history, facts, common sense, taxpayer concerns, and fiscal responsibility (pension and vendor scams) in a calculated effort to buttress the DE charter effort AND show huge internal support for a significantly under performing internal department at the DOE: the Charter School Accountability Committee.

They, charter schools, need to be supported and coddled. Pencader remains open. For all the right reasons, heck Mr. Murphy only needs one and what’s bigger than socking it to a political enemy or three, especially for a Jack Markell cabinet secretary?

If Mr. Murphy will just let it breathe a little…

PCHS Parents Listening to SBOE, then reading blogs, then back to the SBOE again.


If you’re not over at Kilroy’s reading Publius e decere and his accomplices, you are missing out!

Check it out, here:

Originally posted on Diane Ravitch's blog:

A little known group called Educators for Shared Accountability designed a rubric for evaluating Secretaries of Education. It incorporates multiple measures.

By its metric, Richard Riley was our best national leader.

Check out Secretary Duncan’s value added rating.

View original

Originally posted on Diane Ravitch's blog:

Matthew Di Carlo at the Shanker Institute has a good post about the importance of test security in an era of high-stakes testing.

As long as we have high-stakes testing–which I oppose–we need to guard against cheating.

He points out that the scandal in Atlanta was thoroughly reviewed by independent and well-trained investigators. They got to the bottom of it.

But the other major cheating scandal in D.C. was swept under the rug by officials who wanted to see it disappear.

Di Carlo explains in one of the links in this post that the alleged academic gains under Michelle Rhee’s tenure occurred before she became chancellor and before she implemented any of her reforms. He points out that even those gains were suspect because they are based on proficiency rates of different cohorts of students, not on test scores. Once her reforms were installed, the DC scores and proficiency rates…

View original 85 more words

In only a few short years, this is where teaching is going?

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!

Originally posted on Diane Ravitch's blog:

Ron Isaac is a retired teacher of English in New York City. He writes:

What a shame that language is such a pliable substance!  It’s putty in the hands of folks who control public policy debates, especially about education. And it can be deadly to progress when it’s off the tongues of people who exercise authority unjustly, either enabled by their own title or position or else by their power to purchase the influence of others who are in such position to damage or enrich or simply make things happen.

These people do to phrases and sometimes to popular perceptions what whip-snapping “trainers” do to tigers in a circus. By making them heel, they in effect own these great creatures.

Language is also a great creatureAnd increasingly it too is being owned by the most formidable of…

View original 846 more words

The War Against Teachers | Alternet

The War Against Teachers | Alternet.

Originally posted on Diane Ravitch's blog:

The Chicago Tribune obtained a copy of a secret document describing the plan of Chicago Public Schools to close 95 schools, mostly in minority neighborhoods. The plan was dated September 10.

This represents a dramatic elimination of public schools in Chicago.

The city says it will slow down charter growth, at least this year, but there can be little doubt that the school closings will create a growing pool of displaced students for Chicago’s growing charter sector.

View original