Sunday, February 12, 2017

Couldn't Have Said it Better... U.S. Public Schools Are NOT Failing... They are Among the Best in the World...

You heard it here before. Leadership Skill 101 - "Tell 'em, tell 'em what you told, tell 'em again."

"U.S. public are not failing. They are among the best in the world."

Click on the link.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

New York State Common Core Assessments: Opt out... the only way to go...

It's that time of year again: To begin to decide whether to opt students out of 3-8 grade testing. Once again, the assessments in grades third through eighth grade are a waste of instructional time and critical funding. There is simply no good educational reason to take the assessments. They are accountability tests, they do help students learn better as the results are reported long after the tests.

Want to learn more? The information below is the best summary of the not so good, pretty bad, and ugly of the Common Core assessments. NOTE: Do not opt out of high school Regents exams. Some students in grades seven through eight take them. Click on this link or the document. It is two pages. 

Refusal forms are located here.

Thank you, NYSAPE (Clink the link for more information about the NYS Allies for Public Education), for leading this effort.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Another Opinion... Valerie Strauss... "Six astonishing things Betsy DeVos said — and refused to say"...

Excellent read.

Why Betsy DeVos is Woefully Unprepared to be Secretary of Education... in her own words...

Most of Betsy DeVos testimony made it clear why the Republicans limited questioners to five minutes of questions. There were so many examples of why Ms. DeVos is profoundly unqualified to be Secretary of Education; it was hard to find just one as a good example. The following videos provide ample evidence. She has little knowledge of public education, why students struggle, or how to help them - in her words when she chose to answer the questions.

In this video, Senator Kaine gets at some of the potential conflicts between the President-elect's money and his education proposals. He also helps point out her inexperience with, and disdain for, public education as well as her attitude toward religion and schools. More importantly, her complete lack of knowledge about the Individual's with Disabilities Act (IDEA) is appalling. Finally, she believes charter schools should have different accountability standards than the regular public schools even though they receive public money.

Here, Senator Franken exposes Ms. DeVos little understanding of teaching and learning. In her defense, "proficiency" and "growth" issues are not all that easy to understand, but her lack of even basic knowledge of those concepts is very disturbing.

Senator Sanders very quickly gets at why someone so uninformed about education and ill-prepared to lead an education agency has been nominated to be education secretary. He also goes on to explore other significant education issues with Ms. DeVos, exposing again, her lack of understanding of the needs of parents and students.

In this exchange, you would think Ms. DeVos would have been better informed about the reason Senator Murphy might bring it up. The need for protection from grizzly bears is likely not an appropriate response in this instance. 

Finally, in this commentary, Diane Ravitch makes a thorough and complete case why "it’s hard to imagine someone less qualified to oversee the nation’s schools than Betsy DeVos.

Friday, January 6, 2017

School Choice... Why it's not about choice...

You are going to hear a lot about school choice as the confirmation process for Betsey DeVos as education secretary moves forward. 

School choice is not about choice. Here's why.

The basis of it is several false assumptions.
  1. Parents pay school taxes for direct access to public schools for their children. That's not true. School taxes, mostly property taxes in many places, provides support for the public schools since they are in the best interest of society. If the access rationale were true, people who don't have children or who no longer have children in school would stop paying any taxes to support the schools.
  2. School choice increases access to non-public schools. That's misleading in several ways. Most, if not all, school-choice stipends are not large enough for most parents to be able to afford the most prestigious private schools - even if those schools would enroll those students. Private school enrollment is exclusive as the schools can select their students. All private schools and charter schools control their enrollment, so access is selective, unlike the regular public schools.
  3. School choice will improve student achievement. There is no evidence supporting that claim.
School choice is more about exclusion as opposed to being inclusive. School choice is a way to provide public funding for private schools that can and do pick and choose who they will educate.

Public education is the "great equalizer." School choice is the great divider. Beware of people claiming it's about choice.