Two things are evident here: (a) Our understandings of race and affirmative action need developing, and (b) there are active members of the Republican Party attending Berkeley. I'm not so surprised by the first...
I know it's difficult to discuss certain topics in education without exposing a political ideology, but sometimes people can't help but get carried away. It's up to us to take a closer look to see what's really there -- a good thing to remember as we head into what is sure to be a heated election year.
Iowa's education plan is _very reformy_, I'll give them that. Iowa seems to have selected the most prominent ideas from the ed reform agenda. Note that I said "prominent," not "proven." I have yet to see quality research that shows that more testing, merit pay, or charter schools improve student achievement. I hope Iowa has some good ed researchers who will be analyzing the data to see if my home state is the one to figure out how to make these ideas work.
In Colorado, the combined cost of administering current state tests and preparing for a new set of tests could be $49.5 million in 2012-2013. Just over 484,300 students took the CSAP in 2011, meaning the 2012-2013 costs may exceed $102 per student.
Great post by Larry Cuban today about health, schools, and short- vs. long-term benefits.
Gapminder is an awesome way to manipulate visual data, and everybody should spend a little time exploring here, and I'll definitely work this into my future stats classes.
Colorado recently passed a law that requires schools to notify parents if a school employee gets arrested. The law appears to have some inconsistencies; if charges against the arrested employee are dropped, the school must tell parents, but not if the teacher is acquitted or is simply arrested and released with no charges filed. Assuming the inconsistencies can be resolved, I'd be curious as to how many teachers are in favor or opposed to such a law.
The short summary of this article? The NEA said, "Yes, you can use student test scores to evaluate our teachers, but only if you use a test that is shown to be a valid and reliable instrument for doing so. By the way, no such tests exist."
I keep reading about iPads in the classroom, and I remain skeptical. So much so I had to blog about it: http://blog.mathed.net/2011/07/not-yet-sold-on-tablets-in-classroom.html.
From personal experience, I can certainly tell you that getting high grades in education classes is easier than getting high grades in math classes. Given the graphs in this post, you can see that ed school grades are inflated? But what does it mean for the grades to be inflated? It's too simple to equate grade inflation with inferior learning.
Great post about the fallacy of "College for All." Somewhere in our effort to promote college, we made it shameful for students to pursue other possibilities, including career and technical education, apprenticeships, even community college. Would it be great if every student was prepared to go to college, went, and earned a degree? Definitely. But those that aren't prepared -- or just have other interests for their future -- need to consider college a potential financial risk.
I understand that as schools cut sports the kids will look elsewhere, but why boxing? I like boxing, and (like wrestling) it's a sport that builds character, even if it seems a little barbaric for modern times. Perhaps it's because boxing can be relatively inexpensive, and the rise in popularity of MMA is likely also a factor.
The student-to-counselor ratio is a major problem, but that doesn't absolve counselors of all responsibility. There is a theory that counselors are seeking to avoid the stereotype that developed decades ago, that of the pessimistic "don't go to college, you're not going to amount to anything" fortune teller. If true, this thinking is preventing some counselors from having serious conversations with students about their future, and sometimes that results in students making very expensive post-secondary decisions that aren't suited to them.
The growth of for-profit colleges makes me very uneasy and I'm happy that Senator Tom Harkin is investigating their alleged abuses so seriously. Of the former students of mine that I know went to the Art Institute in Denver, I think every one dropped out after a year or two, many thousands of dollars in debt.
I can't say that I know all that much about the IB program; as someone who has spent nearly all their time in small, rural schools, it's not something I've experienced first-hand. I do gather that it has a rather good reputation, as seen in this NYT article. However, I like the statements from the Northwestern admissions officer at the end of the piece: just because IB is good, doesn't mean a student with a "regular" diploma is any less worthy. You still have to look at the courses taken and the performance in each.
I have my concerns about the mixture of public, equitable education and free market capitalism. Kevin Welner's article touches on major facets of that concern.
When I read Arne Duncan's words, I really want to think, "He gets it," and maybe he does. But something happens in the process of turning a philosophy into policy and then into practice. Along the way, the words have a way of emptying themselves, a problem certainly not unique to Arne or education policy.
Her principal rated her "excellent," but then the principal left and the interim principal cited her for not putting her lesson plans in the right place. Now she's been marked as "do-not-hire" and it's very possible she'll never be able to teach in her district ever again. This is another sign that foolproof evaluation systems are very hard, and if you think using her test scores is the solution, be reminded of the NYT story from last March: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/07/education/07winerip.html.
Paying math and science teachers more money has been discussed for years, but I'm not aware of any attempts to do so at a state level. We'll see how this works in Georgia and if the money (and people's patience) lasts long enough to see if it actually helps recruitment and retention.
"Over the objections of some public school advocates..." Only "some?" Really? I might suggest that anyone who voted for this bill, almost by definition, can't truly be a "public school advocate," at least within my vision of public schools.