Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Public Education News Round-Up

I have many public ed stories that have piled up on my computer so here goes.   (There won't be any charter school stories because there are so many of those, I'll be giving them a separate thread.  The news is not good.)
Broadly-based education stories
Bill Moyers - As the School Year Ends, the Future of Public Education is in Jeopardy, June 2015

From Education Dive, Five K-12 Trends to Watch in 2016.   They are:
  • budget crises in urban districts
  • so-called personalized learning plans
  • holistic approaches to learning
  • Goodbye PARCC?
  • Accountability for 'bad apple' charters
From Forbes, 4 Fundamental Problems with Everything You Hear about the Future of Education.  Some good common sense thoughts here.

From the ed blog, Curmudgucation, by teacher Emily Kaplan - No Excuse, Deceptive Metrics and School Success 

From Education Week, a very compelling story about one state, New Mexico, and their desperate efforts to get students online.

School Boards
From Willamette Week, a fascinating story about a school board director who is "cranky, irritating, stubborn - and a surprising force for change in Portland Public Schools."   This could be what our new board's focus might look like.

Common Core
From Campaign for America's Future, Common Core "Results" aren't really test scores.

From Diane Ravitch's blog, Yong Zhao and Pasi Sahlberg on why the director of the OECD in charter of international testing is wrong that American students are not overtested.

From Stop Common Core in Washington State, Conservatives for Exit Exams: A lesson in high-stakes testing

Special Education
From NPR: Behind the Shortage of Special Ed Teachers; Long Hours, Crushing Paperwork

Hard to Classify
Diane Ravitch on a 1950s Isaac Asimov story, The Fun They Had. 

Counterpunch has a story by Susan Ohanian called "Who They Gonna Call? Bias at the New York Times on Education Reform."  Truly important reading as the Times in NY seems as tone-deaf as the Times of Seattle.

Diane Ravitch had a great round-up article of who's who in ed reform and where are they today.


Anonymous said...

"Special Education
From NPR: Behind the Shortage of Special Ed Teachers; Long Hours, Crushing Paperwork"

Please spare us the BS! Do people think the issue is simply the hours or the mythical "Crushing paper work" ? ...really?

I would say in SPS it's the lack of compliance and the lack of supports that demoralize SPED staff and send a warning signal out to the world...BEWARE OF SPS.

Yes beware, unless you like administrative hearings, because there are a boatload queued up.

I'm sorry, but does SEA pay you to post propaganda?

Getting old

Melissa Westbrook said...

I don't consider NPR to be propaganda and, as you can see, there are multiple stories from multiple sources. You can disagree if you like.

Anonymous said...

I get told all the time I should teach SpEd (pretty much I do, I teach the lowest tier of a required class with no SpEd alternative), and there's no way in hell I will ever get that endorsement. I'm great with the kids, I'd love to have them only 8 at a time instead of 15 in a class of 33. But I'm not doing the paperwork or managing the parents. They should be getting time and a half or admin pay for that level of circus hoop. SPS support and compliance in the upper ranks is absolutely another negative, but when we are looking at state/nation wide shortages it's obviously not just because Seattle can't hold it together. Certainly what SpEd teachers went through in my time in Seattle is way worse than what I see in my current district, but it's still significantly more BS than gets piled on the rest of us.

OUtta Seattle

No 1240 said...

Two charter schools are receiving state funding:

"Two other charters are now receiving state funds to serve as homeschool centers, although students still attend school just as they did before."


Charlie Mas said...

The Seattle Times has been conspicuously silent on the efforts made to keep the charter schools afloat.

Anonymous said...

I'm kinda glad Seattle Times is quiet on cheerleading charter. I have to say the Foster HS story was great for showing the breakdown of problems and solutions, not just a feel good story. The HS and MS are next to each other and are worth visiting for you ed bloggers. The dyslexia preschool story was thin, but at least the issue and solution publicized. Overall, I've been happier in recent months with their investigative work. If this continues, especially if they go after more local stuff about SPD reform and accountability (lack of) and city shenanigans, I might have to re-subscribe.


Anonymous said...

I would add a good summary of McCleary political reality is in SLOG's Olympia legislative round up piece by John Stang. It's not a big surprised and shows how reluctant both parties are at solving this. Of course if it was Boeing or a big corporation.... While SEA may want the state to determine taxation to pay for teacher salaries, local school districts where property owners reside aren't so sure about ceding local control to the state. Certainly this will change local teacher union politics. Probably more power to WEA when it comes to negotiation over compensation. Instead of individual district negotiating, it'll be WEA? It certainly will affect local levies. McCleary doesn't cover money for building and maintenance, just teacher salaries. Maybe those schools which teach outdoors will be the way of the future.


Melissa Westbrook said...

Parent, exactly so. There are MANY issues to cover in McCleary and I think the juxtaposition of teachers and their salaries (see the union) and where the money comes from and what money is literally driving them crazy. It's very easy to say, "More money won't solve it" or "they have enough, they just need to spend it better."

But yes, if they were being asked to help a big corporation, well, it's all hands on deck.

But that means that NOTHING else should get thrown in the mix to distract them.

Anonymous said...

As an SEA/WEA member we are not collectively or even as a positional statement wanting any form of local control to be abolished. Our platform is that funding needs to increase. If you've heard differently then you've heard wrong. Check in with an SEA rep or the President/Vice President/Executive Director.

That's just silly.

Anonymous said...

Industry executives and university advocates have successfully duped nearly every reporter, editor and anchor nationwide about the scale and purpose of the H-1B professional outsourcing program.

The journalists–and Americans—have been kept in the dark while universities and many allied name-brand companies have quietly imported an extra workforce of at least 100,000 lower-wage foreign professionals in place of higher-wage American graduates, above the supposed annual cap of 85,000 new H-1Bs.

Less than one-sixth of these extra 100,000 outsourced hires are the so-called “high-tech” computer experts that dominate media coverage of the contentious H-1B private-sector outsourcing debate.

Instead, the universities’ off-the-books H-1B hires include 21,754 professors, lecturers and instructors, 20,566 doctors, clinicians and therapists, 25,175 researchers, post-docs and biologists, plus 30,000 financial planners, p.r. experts, writers, editors, sports coaches, designers, accountants, economists, statisticians, lawyers, architects, computer experts and much else. The universities have zero legal obligation to recruit Americans for these jobs.

These white-collar guest-workers are not immigrants — they are foreign professionals hired at low wages for six years to take outsourced, white-collar jobs in the United States. Many hope to stay in the United States, but most guest-workers return home after six years.


Lights out

Anonymous said...

It might be silly, but how long does the current CBA covers. McCleary makes clear it's the state's duty to find the money. The main reason behind McCleary's decision was how funding was inequitable with property rich districts able to fund more from local levies to cover this shortfall. The court decides to use staffing compensation and staffing ratio as the quantitative measure to determine if McCleary's decision is being fulfilled. The burden is on the state and less on local. Between the R and D plans, there has to be some compromises and to pass it, some serious strings attached. Will rich school districts (Seattle, Bellevue) be willing to pay way more property taxes for this while most other school districts will see neutral or drop in property taxes? That's the Republican plan. Dems want capital gains tax and end of loopholes. Regardless of the plan, there's going to be a limit on what local levies can raise (that whole equity issue). Right now, Seattle levies pay 25% into SPS budget. There's a levy cliff coming up FY 2017-18.

Local unions may have to look more to statehouse lobbying when it comes to compensation package because it'll be the statehouse who will be funding it. Even with additional recent state funding infusion post-recession, there's quite a "shell game" going on with school district budgeting. Tacoma and Seattle just went through this.


While urban school districts may argue the cost of living is less in rural/semi rural areas, remember these communities are hard pressed to draw professionals of any kind to live and work in rural places. Think quality of life - good comprehensive school with wide ranging electives offering for their own children, good healthcare without driving 40-60 miles to access or poor broadband availability, etc. We aren't talking about trendy restaurants, library, theaters, or Costco here. You have to (and should pay) people more to work and live in these places too.


n said...

I agree with you parent. So every teacher salary schedule should be bumped up to make wages attractive to the best. Lots of teachers want to work in rural areas but they don't want to be poor. And the teachers who choose cities should be justly compensated for the cost of living they endure. Everyone doesn't have to be paid the same but all teachers should be paid appropriately for their education and skill level. I've always wanted to teach in an area where I could afford five-to-ten acres but teaching in those areas didn't afford me that kind of indulgence. Both rural and urban have their attractions. Don't think we are all urbanites at heart.