Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Testing Resistance & Reform News: December 24 - 30, 2014 – FairTest - Bob Schaeffer #EdBlogNet

FairTest doesn't just report the assessment reform news -- we often help make it to support the movement. Check out this week's stories.

Please support an expansion of our crucial public education campaigns in 2015, FairTest's 30th Anniversary Year, with a contribution at http://www.fairtest.org/donate or by mailing a check to P.O. Box 300204, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130

With best wishes for a Happy New Year filled with testing resistance victories!

Remember that all donations to FairTest made by midnight, December 31 qualify for a 2014 federal tax deduction.

Rage Against The Common Core and Its New Tests

Standardized Testing Resistance Expected to Grow in 2015

Colorado Districts Debate Move to Online Exams

Connecticut Test-Scoring Guarantees "Failure"

Hazards of Florida's Testing Rush
New State Committee Will Tackle Florida Testing Controversies

Re-Evaluating Illinois' Assessment System: Who Are Out Masters?

Massachusetts Superintendents Say, "Too Much Testing

Minnesota Schools Hit Glitches With Online Testing

Nevada Will End Up on Short End of Common Core Testing

New York Governor Vetoes His Own Bill to Protect Teachers From Flawed Test-Score Ratings
New York Testing Protest Song

County School Leaders Want North Carolina to Abolish School Grading System

Pennsylvania Student Condemns Test-Driven Education

Virginia Ed. Secretary Supports Assessment Reform

Testing Under Fire on Capitol Hill . . . And in the States

Arne Duncan's False Assumption About Standardized Testing

U.S. Approach to Closing "Achievement Gap" Is All Wrong

Standardized Testing Resistance Expected to Grow in 2015

Bob Schaeffer, Public Education Director
FairTest: National Center for Fair & Open Testing
office-   (239) 395-6773   fax-  (239) 395-6779
mobile- (239) 699-0468
web-  http://www.fairtest.org



Posted by Aurelio Montemayor 
Aurelio Montemayor
I admire the work of Bob Moses although I haven't been able to see it up close.
I've been trying to follow this project for several years but haven't been able to get through for nuts & bolts information on how to carry it out on the ground. Even if some of the data presented on the website doesn't show very dramatic gains for the students the effort is worth the focus. The gains might go far beyond the results on mandated state tests.

I'm especially interested in some sort of 'math-for-the-masses' approach that demystifies higher math and increases the number of students of color and poor students who are competent and comfortable with algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics and whatever other advanced forms of math are necessary to survive and flourish in the 21st century professional world.
All this regardless to all the current information about the lessened value of college degrees and the conversations about the various non-degree paths which might be more practical for young people. 


The Algebra Project, Inc. is a 501 (c) (3) national, nonprofit organization that uses mathematics as an organizing tool to ensure quality public school education for every child in America. We believe that every child has a right to a quality education to succeed in this technology-based society and to exercise full citizenship. We achieve this by using best educational research and practices, and building coalitions to create systemic changes.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Sponsors of Policy: A Network Analysis of Wealthy Elites, their Affiliated Philanthropies, and Charter School Reform in Washington State


Sponsors of Policy: A Network Analysis of Wealthy Elites, their Affiliated Philanthropies, and Charter School Reform in Washington State

by Wayne Au & Joseph J. Ferrare — 2014

To paraphrase F. Scott Fitzgerald, today’s plutocrats are not like you and I; nor do they resemble the politicians we elect. Even when they assume the authority to set public policies, they are, I fear, not sackable. (Bosworth, 2011, p. 386)

Background/Context: Charter school policy has evolved into a major component of the current education reform movement in the United States. As of 2012, all but nine U.S. states allowed charter schools, and in one of those nine, Washington State, charter school legislation was passed by popular vote in November 2012. There is a substantial, if contested, research base focusing on charter school effectiveness, particularly related to test score achievement, as well as an equally contested literature base on charter school enrollment selectivity, student expulsions, and increased segregation in charter school populations.
Purpose: The purpose of this study is to analyze the network of relations of policy actors surrounding the statewide campaign to pass the charter school Initiative 1240 in Washington State in order to better understand how wealthy individuals and their associated philanthropic organizations influence educational policy.
Research Design: Making use of available tax records, public election information, individual and organizational websites, and institutional and foundation databases, this study uses simple directed graphing techniques from social network analysis to analyze the complex relationships and affiliations of policy actors relative to the campaign to pass charter school Initiative 1240 in the state of Washington.

Conclusions/Recommendations: This study concludes that, compared to the average voter in Washington, an elite group of wealthy individuals, either directly through individual donations or indirectly through their affiliated philanthropic organizations, wielded disproportionate influence over the outcome of the charter school initiative in the state, thereby raising serious concerns about the democratic underpinnings of an education policy that impacts all of the children in Washington State. This study also concludes that elite individuals make use of local nonprofit organizations as a mechanism to advance their education policy agenda by funding those nonprofits through the philanthropic organizations affiliated with those same wealthy elites. In light of these conclusions, the authors recommend that a mechanism for more democratic accountability be developed relative to education policy campaigns, initiatives, and legislation.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Stanford U's free-market advocate Dr. M Raymond says corporate Charter schools don't work in education #EdBlogNet

This post has been updated to include Dr. Raymond's complete comment on the effect of markets in education. The quote was taken from the City Club's podcast, which hadn't been posted when this post was first written.

I was all prepared to summarize what Dr. Margaret Raymond had to say about Stanford's latest study from its Center for Research on Educational Outcomes (CREDO), which Raymond heads, at today's City Club of Cleveland event.

How only in Cleveland does it appear that Ohio's charter school sector is providing meaningful, positive benefits to kids. Or how CREDO's methodology works (averaging kids in traditional public school buildings and comparing these "virtual" kids' performance with real charter kids). Or how Ohio's charter school sector has been making very minimal improvements over the years. Or that the state's charter reform initiatives over the last few years haven't had much impact on charter school performance. Or that Cleveland charters are doing a good job educating poor, minority kids. Or that 93% of Ohio charter schools' proficiency scores are below the 50th percentile in the state. Or that 44% of charter school kids are seeing low growth and performance.

But then, in response to a question from the audience nearly at the end of the event, Dr. Raymond dropped this on the crowd: She said she's a "free market kinda girl", but after decades of looking at the nation's charter school sector, she has come to the conclusion that the "market mechanism just doesn't work" in education. Here;s the podcast from the City Club. Her market comments start at 50:18. Here is the remarkable commentary:
I actually am kind of a pro-market kinda girl. But it doesn’t seem to work in a choice environment for education. I’ve studied competitive markets for much of my career. That’s my academic focus for my work. And (education) is the only industry/sector where the market mechanism just doesn’t work. I think it’s not helpful to expect parents to be the agents of quality assurance throughout the state. I think there are other supports that are needed… The policy environment really needs to focus on creating much more information and transparency about performance than we’ve had for the 20 years of the charter school movement. We need to have a greater degree of oversight of charter schools. But I also think we have to have some oversight of the overseers.

Considering that the pro-market reform Thomas B. Fordham Foundation paid for this study and Raymond works at the Hoover Institution at Stanford -- a free market bastion, I was frankly floored, as were most of the folks at my table.

For years, we've been told that the free market will help education improve. As long as parents can choose to send their kids to different schools, like cars or any other commodity, the best schools will draw kids and the worst will go away. The experience in Ohio is the opposite. The worst charter schools in Ohio are growing by leaps and bounds, while the small number of successful charter schools in Ohio have stayed, well, a small number of successful charter schools.

Raymond made the point too that parents are not informed enough to be true market consumers on education. Websites like Know Your Charter can help with that educational aspect of the parental choice, better arming parents with the necessary information to make a more informed decision. But to hear free market believers say that 20 years into the charter school experiment its foundational philosophy -- that the free market's invisible hand will drive educational improvement -- is not working? Well, I was stunned to hear that.

Raymond also made the point that the states that are seeing the best charter school performance are states whose charter school authorizers are focused on quality and have robust accountability measures -- in other words, well-regulated. Yesterday, when the CREDO report was released, it was discovered that if online and for-profit charter schools are taken out of the equation, Ohio charters don't perform all that bad. Problem is that more than 57% of Ohio charter school kids are in those schools. In fact, at Know Your Charter, we found that less than 10% of Ohio's charter school kids are in schools that score above the state average on the Performance Index Score or have an A or B in overall value added.

The point is that there are a few very high-performing charters in this state, like the Breakthrough Schools in Cleveland, or the Toledo School of the Arts, or Columbus Preparatory Academy. While these schools represent a smattering of Ohio's 400 plus charter schools, the state's failing charter schools are legion.

Here's another sort of bombshell from me, to counteract the free market one: I'm not convinced that the free market can't work for education.

But it can only do so if the public is fully informed, parents are armed with good information and make well-informed, thoughtful decisions while the state and its authorizing groups focus like a laser on quality, not quantity, of choice. The way Ohio's charter school laws are currently drafted does not allow that to happen. Sites like Know Your Charter can help, but the state needs to have a better mechanism in place to ensure that parents and kids can make truly informed and good decisions for their future.

It's not like buying a car where if you buy a lemon, you can just go try another one. It's a pain, but not the end of the world.

If parents choose a lemon of a charter school, their children may never recover.

That isn't a pain.

It's a tragedy.

Re: Stanford CREDO Director says free market doesn't work in Education

Lloyd Lofthouse posted a comment about this message on Basecamp. 

I think Word of Mouth leads to physical, in-your-face protests, and in the age of internet social media, Word of Mouth spreads fast.

Before teachers, parents and children of all ages join together to protest in the streets, in front of the DOE in Washington, in front of the Gates Foundation in Seattle, and in other states and cities, they have to become informed and that information comes through social media and Word of Mouth.

§  Social media > Word of Mouth > real-world protests

Stanford U's free-market advocate Dr. M Raymond
says corporate Charter schools don't work in education

Badass Teachers Association versus Corporate War on Public Education

Alleged Liar & Deceiver
who pays herself 500K+ annually from tax payers

History of Successful US Pub-Ed

Thank a worker this holiday season

By Hector Guzman Lopez and Erika Galindo, Special to Equal Voice News
The end of the year is here once again, and in what has become tradition throughout the United States, family and friends will gather this month to enjoy pleasant moments, food, smiles and conversations.
Many people will engage in reflection, some deeper than others, on why they are thankful and what warrants their family's gratitude.
Health, family, a roof over one's head, jobs.
These are just some of the most common things people include in their list of blessings. Rarely does society focus on the contributions of different people in the population to our well being as something for which to give thanks.
We hope to highlight the contributions of working families, especially immigrant working families as a reason warranting our gratitude. Fuerza del Valle Workers' Center gives thanks to working families this holiday season and beyond by consistently supporting the transformation of our society to achieve more just and equitable communities.
We urge families to reflect and share on these endeavors.
The "Texas Miracle," a phenomenon many of our politicians are quick to make reference to when speaking of the Lone Star State, is in large part due to the construction industry with record amounts of projects in every major urban area of the state.
There are close to 1 million construction workers who have built the state of Texas -- and continue to do so. They labor in the most dangerous state to work in construction with the most deaths on the job than any other field in any other state.
Construction companies, contractors, subcontractors and society have another reason to be grateful this season. It is thanks to the construction workers that the industry has managed to grow at the pace it has, making an estimated $54 billion a year.
Without Texas construction workers, our state would not flourish near that rate. We should give thanks to the men and women who labor every day to build our state, from roads to schools. They work on government buildings, private businesses and homes.

In giving thanks to Texas construction workers, we should acknowledge that about half of them labor in our state without documents. In other words, without immigrant workers, our state would not have the growth that people see today.

Beyond the holidays, we should demonstrate our gratitude by supporting and prioritizing the transformation of the construction industry to make it one that is more accountable to working families, where there is proper safety training, adequate water and water breaks and to try to ensure that the rampant problem of wage theft is no longer embedded in construction work.

Texas worker centers, such as the Workers Defense Project and Fuerza del Valle Workers' Center will be pushing for new legislation this session to support working families and make the construction industry more accountable to workers.

Also, this month, many families will not cook their meals for the holidays. Rather, they will have domestic workers prepare their meals, clean their homes and help their children prepare for celebrations.

Numerous professionals depend on domestic workers to take care of their homes, cook their food and assist their children and parents in order to fulfill their own careers and enjoy their free time.

This season, let us give thanks to domestic workers who take care of homes and families and allow for vast sectors of society to work. Let us give thanks beyond this symbolic holiday and support domestic workers who struggle to end wage theft, sexual abuse, mistreatment, low wages and other rampant labor injustices.

The National Domestic Workers Alliance has been instrumental in galvanizing workers' centers and community organizations that focus with domestic workers on these issues and have successfully supported the passage of Domestic Workers' Bill of Rights in California, Hawaii, New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts.

The Domestic Workers' Bill of Rights widens labor rights under state law for domestic workers. Fuerza del Valle is committed to supporting this movement for economic justice.

As we lay out our holiday spread and eat our meals, let us also remember the men and women who harvest our food in the fields of America. Let us be conscious of the families who work hard to put food on our table and the supply chain that allows for this to happen.

Let us think of the millions of farmworkers, tens of thousands of whom are from the Rio Grande Valley which is a historical hub for migrant workers, who diligently harvest the fields. Let us think of the warehouse workers and the truck drivers who do their part in this supply chain, as well as the retail workers who work at Walmarts and supermarkets of America.

Let us think of all the workers who take part in getting food to our table. We should think of them and thank them for fulfilling such sacred work and for allowing us to nourish our bodies and support the health of our families.

Warehouse workers, retail workers and farmworkers are organizing across the country to fight poverty and exploitation in our supply chain. Let our gratitude extend from the holiday season and into concrete support for these historic campaigns by showing solidarity with working families.

This means attending their events, respecting picket lines and, most importantly, listening.

This holiday season, Fuerza del Valle Workers' Center recognizes and appreciate the contributions of all working families, documented and undocumented, to our society.

We encourage you to acknowledge them in your holiday dinners and celebrations and to give thanks to them on a day-to-day basis by supporting the movement for economic justice.

(Hector Guzman Lopez is an immigrant worker from Guanajuato who coordinates the Texas-based Fuerza del Valle Workers' Center and works for the Texas Civil Rights Project. Erika Galindo is a media advisor for Fuerza del Valle Workers' Center. She attended Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi where she served as managing editor at Island Waves Student Newspaper. She edits the Fuerza del Valle newsletter.)