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The End Of Neighborhood Schools : NPR. Harris founded the brand-new Education Research Alliance for New Orleans. His team of newly minted Ph.D.s shares a bare, beige-carpeted downtown office space with a fraternity of New Orleans choice backers. But the goal of the Education Research Alliance, Harris says, isn’t necessarily to promote charter schools or choice. “We’re here to do deeper research, and to do that it’s important to be a neutral party,” he says.

In fact, Harris has some bad news for RSD schools. He says that, statistically, the pattern of test scores they’ve seen so far — several years of swift improvement, followed by a plateau this past year — points to something more than just great learning going on. “The increasing trend in scores is not all achievement,” he says, leaning back in his chair with his arms folded behind his head. He means something subtler: a distortion of the curriculum and teaching practice. “The curriculum is really characterized by a narrow interpretation of state standards. Black students and the ‘school-to-prison pipeline’ America Tonight On the day of the arrests, Jahbriel Morris was waiting at the bus with friends. When the water balloon fight began, Morris said he was running away from the ones being thrown in his direction. Soon, a police officer ran up behind him — a “really big guy,” Morris recalled.

“He grabs me,” Morris said. “I snatch away from him. And he turns me around and grabs me by my neck and slams me on my back.” Morris, then a 15-year-old sophomore, was having a hard time processing exactly what was going on. “Honestly, when it first happened, the first thing that went in my head was, ‘I can’t believe I’m about to get arrested. Kevin Hines was in Enloe’s carpool lane waiting to pick up his twin daughters when he saw Morris get slammed to the ground by a Raleigh police officer. After witnessing what happened to Morris, Hines entered the school to alert the principal. “(The police officer) says, ‘Tase him, tase him,’” Hines said. “He’s like, ‘I saw you throw the water balloon,’” Brown said. LA schools to end zero-tolerance policies and criminalization of students. The nation’s second largest school district will stop criminalizing students for low-level offenses as part of wider reforms relating to controversial zero-tolerance policies, officials from the Los Angeles Unified School District announced Tuesday.

Under previous policies, students would face arrest or citations for nonviolent violations including possessing alcohol or marijuana on campus. Now, such students will be sent to the principle’s office or be given mandatory counseling. Activists welcomed the decision, saying it will help stem the so-called school-to-prison pipeline that they argue unfairly targets minorities. The ‘school-to-prison pipeline’ refers to a nationwide system of policies that push students out of school and into the juvenile criminal justice systems for minor offenses such as goofing off in class or showing up late. The new policies will be implemented in the current school year.

With wire services. Why Poor Schools Can’t Win at Standardized Testing. You hear a lot nowadays about the magic of big data. Getting hold of the right numbers can increase revenue, improve decision-making, or help you find a mate—or so the thinking goes. In 2009, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan told a crowd of education researchers: “I am a deep believer in the power of data to drive our decisions. Data gives us the roadmap to reform. It tells us where we are, where we need to go, and who is most at risk.”

This is a story about what happened when I tried to use big data to help repair my local public schools. A few years ago, I started having trouble helping my son with his first-grade homework. “I need to write down natural resources,” he told me. “Air, water, oil, gas, coal,” I replied. “I already put down air and water,” he said. “Of course they are,” I said. “But they weren’t on the list the teacher gave in class.” I knew my son would start taking standardized tests in third grade. After six months of this, I discovered that the test can be gamed. 8 Things You Should Know About Corporations Like Pearson that Make Huge Profits from Standardized Tests.

Photo Credit: Von Seggern August 6, 2013 | Like this article? Join our email list: Stay up to date with the latest headlines via email. A few months ago, fourth-grader Joey Furlong was lying in a hospital bed, undergoing a pre-brain surgery screening, when a teacher walked in the room with a standardized test. Joey’s mother, Tami Furlong, later said, “I would like to hope she would not have taken his arm that has an IV and oximeter on it and put a No. 2 pencil in it.”

Joey’s story serves as one example of just how absurdly enforced standardized testing has become. Barack Obama’s $500 million competitive grant program Race to the Top, enacted in 2009, chiefly inspired school districts to give more tests. In order to execute these policies that significantly expanded testing, school districts needed test providers. He said, “In a capitalist society, if there’s a market, somebody will figure out how to serve it. But Pearson wasn’t always so big. The Network For Public Education | We are many. There is power in our numbers. Together, we will save our schools.

Public School Shakedown. Education groups battle teachers unions in state races. A new player in the game Historically teachers unions have been the major voices in education politics with little education-specific opposition. “In the old days, it was all the service-provider organizations — so all the unions — or the consumers,” said Kenneth Wong , an expert in education policy and education reform at Brown University. “We are seeing the broadening in terms of the type of actors who get involved in campaign issues in education.” Even parents, who in the past often took a backseat to the unions when it comes to politics, are becoming more engaged in campaigns surrounding education issues, he said.

The result is a highly competitive, highly expensive environment in which the still-powerful teachers unions face coalitions of traditional conservative, anti-union players aligned with education reform activists. Politics aren’t new to education. What’s new is the unprecedented level of education-focused political spending at state and local levels. The influence web. Lack of Order: The Erosion of a Once-Great Force for Integration. For decades, federal desegregation orders were the potent tool that broke the back of Jim Crow education in the South, helping transform the region's educational systems into the most integrated in the country. Federal judges, often facing down death threats and violence, blanketed Southern states with hundreds of court orders that set out specific plans and timetables to ensure the elimination of racial segregation.

Federal agencies then aggressively used the authority of the courts to monitor hostile school systems, wielding the power of the 1964 Civil Rights Act to strip federal dollars from districts that refused to desegregate. The pace of the change wrought by the federal courts was breathtaking. In 1963, about 1 percent of black children in the South attended school with white children. Today, this once-powerful force is in considerable disarray. Today, court orders remain active in more than 300 districts.

The effort uncovered a world of confusion, neglect and inaction. The U.S. Standardized Testing, Common Core and Big Education. Statement to the New York State Senate Standing Committee on Public Education - Fred Smith.NYSSEN.pdf. Louis C.K. Against the Common Core. On Thursday morning, thousands of children who attend public school in New York City will be sitting down for the second of three days of standardized math tests. Among them will be the offspring of Louis C.K., the comedian. Earlier this week, he took to social media to express his frustration at his daughter’s math homework, tweeting the questions she was required to solve to his more than three million followers.

“My kids used to love math! Now it makes them cry,” he wrote. Math looks different these days from when Louis C.K. and his contemporaries attended school, and many similarly aged parents have found themselves puzzled by the manner in which math concepts are being presented to this generation of learners as well as perplexed as to how to offer the most basic assistance when their children are struggling with homework. Some observers, among them Arne Duncan, the Education Secretary, have been quick to dismiss parental critiques of education policy as whining.

Common Core tests widen achievement gap in New York. Here’s the latest post from award-winning Principal Carol Burris of South Side High School in New York, who for more than a year on this blog has chronicled test-driven reform in her state (here, and here and here and here, for example). Burris was named New York’s 2013 High School Principal of the Year by the School Administrators Association of New York and the National Association of Secondary School Principals, and in 2010, tapped as the 2010 New York State Outstanding Educator by the School Administrators Association of New York State.

She is the co-author of the New York Principals letter of concern regarding the evaluation of teachers by student test scores. It has been signed by more than 1,535 New York principals and more than 6,500 teachers, parents, professors, administrators and citizens. You can read the letter by clicking here. By Carol Burris They may be meaningless, but they are not inconsequential. Experienced educators understand why the reform agenda is not working.

A Problem With the Common Core. I’D like to tell you what was wrong with the tests my students took last week, but I can’t. Pearson’s $32 million contract with New York State to design the exams prohibits the state from making the tests public and imposes a gag order on educators who administer them. So teachers watched hundreds of thousands of children in grades 3 to 8 sit for between 70 and 180 minutes per day for three days taking a state English Language Arts exam that does a poor job of testing reading comprehension, and yet we’re not allowed to point out what the problems were. This lack of transparency was one of the driving forces that led the teachers at my school to call for a protest rally the day after the test, a rally that attracted hundreds of supporters. More than 30 other New York City schools have scheduled their own demonstrations.

I want to be clear: We were not protesting testing; we were not protesting the Common Core standards. Park Slope Parents Protesting ‘Terrible Test’ -- NYMag. The New York State English Language Arts Exam, a highly controversial standardized test notorious for its difficulty, has adults in Brooklyn taking to the streets. In an email today from Elizabeth Phillips, the principal of P.S. 321 in gentrified Park Slope, families were told that while their kids were "wonderful and worked incredibly hard" throughout three days of testing, "the teachers and administration are truly devastated by what a terrible test it was and how little it will tell us about our students.

" "There was inappropriate content, many highly ambiguous questions, and a focus on structure rather than meaning of passages," wrote Phillips. "Our teachers and administrators feel that this test is an insult to the profession of teaching and that students’ scores on it will not correlate with their reading ability. " To make themselves known, a protest has been planned for tomorrow morning, ahead of Family Friday. Protests Grow Against NYC Standardized Tests -- NYMag. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan may perceive the much ado being made over this year's New York state standardized tests as "drama and noise," but the city's school leaders and their constituents are fighting back.

Today, hundreds of slogan-toting principals, teachers, parents, and students took to the streets to protest what they say are flawed and ambiguous English language and arts tests administered last week to kids as young as third grade. (Math assessments are scheduled for the end of this month.) Elizabeth Phillips, principal of the much-beloved P.S. 321 in Park Slope, sounded a loud post-test alarm last Friday, calling on her school community to show their dissent. Now it's spreading. Worried Phillips would appear to be a lone voice — and the complaints would be easily overlooked — other principals are now following suit. "I thought, Go Liz, that's great. This year, says Schroeter, they're even worse. The end goal? Standardized-test robo-graders flunk - Opinion. “According to professor of theory of knowledge Leon Trotsky, privacy is the most fundamental report of humankind. Radiation on advocates to an orator transmits gamma rays of parsimony to implode.’’

Any native speaker over age 5 knows that the preceding sentences are incoherent babble. But a computer essay grader, like the one Massachusetts may use as part of its new public school tests, thinks it is exceptionally good prose. PARCC, the consortium of states including Massachusetts that is developing assessments for the Common Core Curriculum, has contracted with Pearson Education, the same company that graded the notorious SAT essay, to grade the essay portions of the Common Core tests. Some students throughout Massachusetts just took the pilot test, which wasted precious school time on an exercise that will provide no feedback to students or to their schools. Continue reading below It was, however, not wasted time for Pearson. Robo-graders rely on the same twisted logic. “The Common Core may actually fail”: Union chief sounds off on Christie, Rhee, and for-profit testing “gag order” When executives at Pearson, the world’s largest for-profit education company, held their London shareholder meeting Friday, they were greeted by activists from the American Federation of Teachers, urging them to oppose so-called “gag orders” restricting teachers from revealing information about Pearson’s Common Core tests.

“The mask of test secrecy that is being used as an excuse for the lack of transparency has created growing distress and a huge backlash among parents, students and educators,” AFT president Randi Weingarten told Salon. Interviewed Monday, the lightning rod union leader pledged further pressure on Pearson, expressed “big disappointment” with President Obama, and said her union’s controversial Newark compromise had “come crashing down” due to a Gov. Chris Christie-appointed superintendent.

You wrote, “We’re concerned that Pearson is using gag orders to cover up — rather than address — problems with its standardized tests.” What led you to believe that could be the case?