Thursday, July 20, 2017

Actionable Knowledge for Equity bulletin on bullying and harassment, actionable data, quality teaching, and school leadership.

IDRA's Actionable Knowledge for Equity bulletin gives you info on four campaign areas: bullying and harassment, actionable data, quality teaching, and school leadership.

--------- July 2017 ---------
IDRA's Actionable Knowledge for Equity bulletin gives you info on four campaign areas: bullying and harassment, actionable data, quality teaching, and school leadership.

In this issue... 
  • Most In-school Bullying Occurs in Hallways and Classrooms
  • Racial-ethnic Tension Occurs at All Grade Levels
  • 5 Reasons Research Shows Teacher Leave
  • School Boards that Lead for Equity - Podcast
IDRA's empirically-based  Quality Schools Action Framework outlines indispensable levers of change that depend on the production and use of actionable knowledge - clear, accurate and timely information - to assess what is needed to strengthen public schooling.
Bullying and Harassment 
Most In-school Bullying Occurs in Hallways and Classrooms 
In May, NCES released the School Crime Supplement to the National Crime Victimization Survey with data on bullying. About 21 percent of teens (12 to 18 years old) reported being bullied at school during the school year in 2015. By race-ethnicity, 25 percent of Black students, 22 percent of White students and 17 percent of Hispanic students reported being bullied at school. By grade levels, the percentage was higher for sixth graders than students in eighth through 12th grades. 

The graph below shows the location where the bullying was reported to have occurred, with the most being in a school hallway or stairwell followed by bullying inside the classroom.
Location of Bullying in Schools

Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, School Crime Supplement to the National Crime Victimization Survey, 2015. Location totals may sum to more than 100 percent because students could have been bullied in more than one location.

Other Resources
Actionable Data 
Racial-ethnic Tension Occurs at All Grade Levels
While the perception may be that racial-ethnic tension is most prominent among older teenagers, schools across the country are reporting issues that lead to discipline problems at all grade levels. Middle schools have over twice the rate of other levels. And surprisingly, elementary schools have higher rates than high schools. 
Source: NCES Digest of Education Statistics. Percentage of public schools reporting selected discipline problems that occurred at school, by frequency and selected school characteristics: Selected years, 1999-2000 through 2013-14. 
Quality Teaching 
School Leadership 

School Boards that Lead for Equity - 
Classnotes Podcast
In order for educational equity to take hold in a school, it is critical that it be in an environment where the district level governance structure provides leadership for systemic equity. A former superintendent in three school districts, Dr. Larry Leverett is the recently-retired executive director of Panasonic Foundation that supports efforts of school systems to improve academic and social outcomes for all students. In this podcast episode, he describes how the Panasonic Foundation has shifted its focus to school board leadership in advancing system-wide equity strategies. (Show length: 15:29 min.)

Dr. Leverett is one of the authors of the journal that was published earlier this year, Essential Approaches for Excellence & Sustainable School System Transformation, that was developed by a group of experts who came together to pull together capacity-building approaches for school and system change. As he relates in this interview, Larry's chapter, Systems Change and Governance: School Boards That Lead for Equity, outlines several actions boards should take.

Larry is interviewed by Bradley Scott, Ph.D., former director of the IDRA South Central Collaborative for Equity, who also contributed a chapter in the ECCBN journal. Send comments to Sign up to receive free e-mail notices when new episodes are available. 
The Intercultural Development Research Association is an independent, non-profit organization. Our mission is to achieve equal educational opportunity for every child through strong public schools that prepare all students to access and succeed in college. IDRA strengthens and transforms public education by providing dynamic training; useful research, evaluation, and frameworks for action; timely policy analyses; and innovative materials and programs.
We are committed to the IDRA valuing philosophy, respecting the knowledge and skills of the individuals we work with and build on the strengths of the students and parents in their schools.
IDRA, 5815 Callaghan Road, Suite 101, San Antonio, TX 78228
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Thursday, June 8, 2017

FairTest Testing Resistance & Reform News: May 31 - June 6, 2017

FairTest Testing Resistance & Reform News: May 31 - June 6, 2017
Intense controversies over testing continue at the state and local levels.  Many legislatures and school boards are responding to the demands of grassroots assessment reformers by eliminating some standardized exams and reducing the stakes attached to their scores.

National New Federal Law May Increase Testing of English Language Learners

 Changes Could Be Coming to State Testing

California Board Rethinking How to Assess Alternative Schools

School Grading System Encourages Students to Take Two Final Exam in Same Course

State Science Exam Scores Delayed by More Than a Year

New Jersey 
Over-testing Is Hurting the Children It Was Supposed to Help

New York 
Taking Too Many Tests Detracts From Joy of Learning
New York Rebranding Common Core as "Next Generation Learning Standards"

North Carolina 
End-of-Grade Tests Cause Panic Attacks in Young Children

ACT Reverses Policy and Will Score Exams After Test-maker's Mistake

Keystone Exams Get Failing Grade

South Carolina
 Questions About Role of Test Scores in Teacher Evaluations

Tennessee Scanning Problems Further Delay Test Score Reporting

 Legislature Wants to Extend Non-Test Graduation Options
Texas State Sanctions More Educators for Test Cheating

Legislators Press to Eliminate Graduation Testing Requirement
Washington Linking Graduation to High-Stakes Exams Was a Mistake

Worth Reading 
Is the U.S. Education and Testing System Producing a Society of Smart Fools

Worth Reading Funder Backed Project Explores Alternatives to Standardized Tests

Bob Schaeffer, Public Education Director
FairTest: National Center for Fair & Open Testing
office-   (239) 395-6773   fax-  (239) 395-6779
mobile- (239) 699-0468

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

FairTest Testing Resistance & Reform News: May 24 - 30, 2017

FairTest Testing Resistance & Reform News: May 24 - 30, 2017
Bob Schaeffer

Across the country, the academic year is winding down. Many school districts have already closed for the summer. Yet, testing controversies remain as intense as ever with advocates for fewer standardized exams and lower stakes winning more victories.  Remember that assessment reform allies can sign up to receive these free weekly news updates by clicking on:

State Seeks Non-Test Tool to Assess Alternative Schools

Struggles Go Beyond Test Scores at School Serving Impoverished Kids

Teachers Say State ESEA Plan Still Too Heavily Tied to Test Scores

State Will Allow Non-Test Paths to High School Graduation

Maryland New Law Slashes Number of Tests Students Take
Maryland Testimony by FairTest in Favor of Testing Cap Legislation

Teachers Fight World Largest Testing Company

More to Students Than Test Scores

New York 
Standardized Testing System Leaves Some Students in the Dust

Legislative Budget Would Allow Return of Pencil-and-Paper Testing

Board Passes Resolution Calling for Testing Reform

Test Scores Won't Be Reported in Time to be Included on Report Cards

Lawmakers Send Grad Test Reprieve Legislation to Governor
Texas Court Finds Test-Based Teacher Evaluations Flawed

What Happens When Students Design Their Own Assessments?

Legislators Debate Suspending Grad Testing Requirement

University Admissions 
SAT Test Preppery

Employment Testing 
Watch Out If You Are Not a White Man

Worth Reading Mandatory Grade Retention Programs Hurt Children
Worth Reading Programs Try to "De-Stress" High-Stakes Testing

Bob Schaeffer, Public Education Director
FairTest: National Center for Fair & Open Testing
office-   (239) 395-6773   fax-  (239) 395-6779
mobile- (239) 699-0468

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Unfortunate goal of school choice movement - Pastors for Texas Children

Unfortunate goal of school choice movement - Pastors for Texas Children
Many years ago, Jerry Falwell articulated the goal of the school choice movement well when he said, “I hope I live to see the day when, as in the early days of our country, we won’t have any public schools. The churches will have taken them over again and Christians will be running them. What a happy day that will be!”
Since the beginning of the religious right movement with Falwell, Phyllis Schlafly, Pat Robertson and others, the aim has been to destroy public education in America. Today they are closer than ever to achieving their goal because it is now being promoted by the president, his education secretary Betsy DeVos and Republican leaders in Texas government including the governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, agriculture commissioner and land commissioner.

This is what you have elected in Texas, my friends, by choosing party over sanity.

Vouchers, school choice, education savings accounts — they are all code words intended to mask the real aim of this movement: destroy public education in America and turn all schools into institutions of religious indoctrination.

Now you may say, “Well, David, you are being an alarmist. It would never go that far. Why not try it in Texas?”

Pastors for Texas Children, on whose board I serve, will host an information session at 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 9, at Southland Baptist Church. Speakers will include Veribest Superintendent Bobby Fryar and Barry Haenisch, executive director of the Texas Association of Community Schools. The purpose is to answer that very question for you.

But let me do my best to answer it here. I live in the Wall ISD. If 20 students get $5,000 apiece to leave the public school to attend a private school, Wall ISD will lose close to $130,000 that can’t be replaced. That money is just lost. No teacher can be fired, no bus route stopped, no money on utilities saved — they just lose the money.

So let me speak bluntly to my friends in the Wall ISD (and you can apply this to any ISD in our area) — when you keep electing right-wing, religious right Republicans at the state and national level, you are voting to close our schools. Please figure that out before it’s too late.

Notice I didn’t say all Republicans. State Rep. Drew Darby is a Republican who opposes vouchers. No, I said “right-wing, religious right” Republicans such as Dan Patrick, Ken Paxton, Ted Cruz, Sid Miller (yes, we have a Texas agriculture commissioner who is trying to destroy our rural communities — he sponsored the voucher bill when in the Texas House). Please take the time to learn where different Republicans stand on our children’s education.
Now let me warn you about something else. Since 2008, the state has reduced spending on education by $339 per student and reduced the state’s share of spending on public education from 44.9 percent to 38.4 percent. They keep pushing the burden onto local taxpayers while bragging they are cutting taxes. (They do this to our counties as well).

Public education already is underfunded by the state; if vouchers pass we will be using tax dollars to support both public and private schools, which will harm our public schools even more.

David R. Currie, Ph.D., serves on the board of Pastors for Texas Children and is the chairman of the Tom Green County Democratic Party.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

FairTest Testing Resistance & Reform News: March 8 - 14, 2017

FairTest Testing Resistance & Reform News: March 8 - 14, 2017
In state after state -- and even in Washington DC -- lawmakers are responding to grassroots' concerns by beginning to rein in standardized exam overuses and misuses. There's still a long way to go to win comprehensive assessment reform but there is concrete evidence of real progress. Check out FairTest's new test opt-out resources to see how you can add to the pressure during this year's testing season.  

ESSA Test Accountability Rules Swept Aside by Congress
National ESSA Implementation is Now a Big, Big Mess
National Did Sec. DeVos Ask States to Ignore Stakeholder Participation for ESSA Plans

FairTest Opt-Out Fact Sheets Revised to Reflect ESSA Rule Repeal as Testing Season Begins

Multiple States 
"A to F" School Rankings Draw Local Pushback

 Legislator Questions State Funding of ACT Testing
Arkansas School Grades Track Poverty

California Smarter Balanced, ACT and SAT Fight Over State Testing Control
California New School Accountability Dashboard

School Offers Incentives to Entice Kids to Take Tests

Senators Tout Benefits of Cutting State Exams
Florida Bill Would Eliminate Some Testing Requirements

School Leaders Seek Options on Testing Mandates,102728
Georgia Bill Seeks Escape Hatch From State Tests

New School Evaluation Plan Adds a Few Non-Test Factors

State Test is Neither Valid Nor Reliable

City Leads Way in Opt-Out Push

Less Testing More Learning Group Seeks Opt-Out Policy Clarification
Massachusetts Educators, Legislators Pushes for Alternative Assessment Measures

Plans for A to F School Grades Dropped
Michigan Debate Persists About Best Way to Assess Schools

New Jersey 
Resist Administrators Pressure to Take PARCC
New Jersey Why Is State Requiring Third Graders to Take Test on Computers

New York 
Activists Promote Sample Test Refusal Letter
New York Opt-Out to Stop High-Stakes Testing
New York Minor Test Changes Won't Change Exam School Diversity

Under Pressure State Agrees to Review Testing
Ohio Principals Question High-Stakes Testing

 Senator Says Standardized Tests Aren't Worth the Hefty Cost

Texas Model Assessment Reform Legislative Advocacy Resources

Suspension of School Grading Approved by House

State House of Representatives Votes to Scrap Graduation Test Requirements

West Virginia
 State Board Scraps A-to-F School Grading System

University Admission Harvard Law Dropping LSAT Could Lead to Sweeping Admission Changes
University Admission Worcester State Goes Test Optional
University Admissions FairTest Updates List of 925+ ACT/SAT Colleges and Universities

Worth Reading Eight Reasons to Opt Out

Bob Schaeffer, Public Education Director
FairTest: National Center for Fair & Open Testing
office-   (239) 395-6773   fax-  (239) 395-6779
mobile- (239) 699-0468