News Roundup

In his continuing effort to be possibly a bigger idiot, Newt Gingrich now said this (in qualifying his previous remarks on having students act as janitors in schools to save money):

On Thursday, at a campaign stop in Iowa, the former House speaker said, “Start with the following two facts: Really poor children in really poor neighborhoods have no habits of working and have nobody around them who works. So they literally have no habit of showing up on Monday. They have no habit of staying all day. They have no habit of ‘I do this and you give me cash’ unless it’s illegal.” (His second “fact” was that every first generational person he knew started work early.)  

Even if you believed this nonsense is putting kids to work at their schools the answer to any of these problems?

Start with the fact that most poor people DO work.  Start with the fact that people with incomes of $25k give more of their income to charity (percentage) than people who make $200k.  

The Republicans are really making Obama's job easier. 

In the more dumb things said this week, this from Mayor Bloomberg:

Education is very much, I’ve always thought, just like the real estate business. Real estate business, there are three things that matter: location, location, location is the old joke. Well in education, it is: quality of teacher, quality of teacher, quality of teacher. And I would — if I had the ability, which nobody does really, to just design a system and say, ‘ex cathedra, this is what we’re going to do,’ you would cut the number of teachers in half, but you would double the compensation of them, and you would weed out all the bad ones and just have good teachers. And double the class size with a better teacher is a good deal for the students.

Really?  Forty+ kids in a class in elementary?  Fifty in middle?  Seventy in high school?  

Next up, the feds have issued guidelines telling school districts they can consider race in school assignments for integration.   From the Times' article:

The guidelines issued Friday warned that students in racially isolated schools — which are on the rise nationally — often lag behind their peers at more diverse schools.
Seattle Public Schools administrators expressed surprise at the new voluntary guidelines, saying that for now they have no immediate plans to change school-assignment policies.

Two important issues to note.   The Supreme Court decision four years ago involving SPS and its use of race in its enrollment plan did NOT say a district couldn't use race.  (Hence the feds now saying you can.)  It said the way SPS was using it was wrong.  But then the question is - how to use it legally?

Second, I find it ironic that the Obama administration and Arne Duncan are worried about re-segregation of schools while they encourage charters.  Many charters are very heavily segregrated and while small number succeed (KIPP but they also exit students out), most do worse.  (More on this in another thread.

In a major revamping of a high school, in Denver in 2006 Manual High School was a failing school.  They shut it down for a year but since its reopening graduated 89% of its senior class.

Now they are going even further.  They added 39 days to their school year.  From the Huffington Post:

The school has added 39 days to its calendar, officially making it the longest school year in Denver Public Schools, in an effort to continue closing the achievement gap and give students more time with teachers. According to Director of Community Engagement Vernon Jones, 25 days of the now-210 day school year will be dedicated to off-campus "experiential learning" -- at no additional cost to families.
The school day will run from 7:45 a.m. to 3:45 p.m.

Jones told the Denver Post that the school is still trying to raise funding for those trips because "money shouldn't be an obstacle" to families.


hschinske said…
I think NG just redefined a whole bunch of people as "not really poor" even though they don't make or own a lot of money. Oh, gee, THAT doesn't obfuscate the issue at ALL.

Helen Schinske
dan dempsey said…
From the NY Times:

U.S. Urges Creativity by Colleges to Gain Diversity
Published: December 2, 2011

The Obama administration on Friday urged colleges and universities to get creative in improving racial diversity at their campuses, throwing out a Bush-era interpretation of recent Supreme Court rulings that limited affirmative action in admissions.
Jon said…
Mayor Bloomberg has it a third right, in my opinion. We should double teachers salaries, but then also double the number of teachers and halve the class size.

I can only hope that, some day, we will view education to be more important to natural security and the future of our country than bombs and missiles. If our federal education budget was anything like the size of our military budget, we would be a much stronger country.
Dave (NOT DWE) said…
I don't know about the district NG is talking about but in Seattle, most of the custodians are former poor kids. And at the wages they receive, they are like the rest of us; about 1 to 2 paychecks from poverty.

Beyond the kids, what message does his idiocy send to folks who HAVE learned the value of earning an honest living serving the public and its children, to be thrown out so NG can prove a point and win a tea-bag vote or two?
hschinske said…
Dear Mayor Bloomberg: By that logic, we should be able to run the city more efficiently by having fewer mayors, but just really good mayors. As we can't very well cut mayors in two (not if we expect them to function well afterward), we propose to halve your official hours, and therefore, of course, your salary. We will also be getting rid of half your staff. Have a nice day.

Helen Schinske
dan dempsey said…
As Helen wonderfully points out ....
take what Bloomberg said and place it in a different venue and it is simply "Total Nonsense".....

Unfortunately so much of what politicians say about education would never be taken seriously anywhere else. .... The ideas coming from Rodney Tom et. al. in Olympia, are not just fodder for Newspaper media discussion ... they are proposed bills.

The level of total nonsense pushed by politicians is tragic. Yet when Enfield puts similar nonsense in an Action Report and the Board passes it .... that is far worse.

So when did anything about TFA in Seattle make any sense at all?

So when did spending $800,000 on the New Tech Network contract make any sense?
dan dempsey said…
In the News....
From Ed Week.....
Anti-Common-Core Resolution Advances in Legislative Group

A package of model legislation opposing the common standards gained ground yesterday at the American Legislative Exchange Council.

Indiana's Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett defended the common standards during a couple of sessions at the ALEC convening, including one at the education task force. He told me after the meeting that while he is uneasy with the federal role in the standards, their overall value outweighed those misgivings.
Dorothy Neville said…
Here's a take on the reality of class size. Urban Teacher's Education

Is Mr Bloomberg saying that anyone, even Mary Poppins or Sidney Poirtier can nurture 35 or more students in every classroom?
Anonymous said…
Beautiful Helen! Beautiful Retort!

Down goes Bloomberg! Down goes Bloomberg!

Anonymous said…
Can you send that letter to head of UW and SPS too? 'Cause I'm all for all the above cuts.

1/2 the admin
dan dempsey said…
Speaking of Urban Teachers Education ... try this one from James Boutin's blog=>

Conference Day one in DC

I moved on to a lecture by Texas Superintendant John Kuhn. Kuhn has written and spoken out widely on destructive state and federal policies that have hurt him and his students......

Kuhn also noted that he thought it important for every teacher to read Joanne Barken's recent article in Dissent, "Firing Line: The Grand Coalition Against Teachers." He said that while efforts at improving education in impoverished communities should involve improving parenting, he noted that the government has leverage only to act against teachers and not against parents. He also said that he thinks that when teachers cry out that children have been neglected and are accused of creating "excuses," they are actually making "diagnoses" of problems.

.... Texas SPI Kuhn compared teachers to an American military outpost that was ambushed by the Taliban in 2009 in the Battle of Kamdesh. He noted that although the military personnel did not succeed in defending their outpost because of poor planning and administration on behalf of the US military, they were nevertheless recognized for their efforts by the government. He noted the irony in the fact that many teachers are put in situations in which they cannot succeed on a daily basis, but rather than being recognized for their herculean efforts in impossible circumstances, they are lambasted for not trying hard enough to cure the effects of poverty.

Meanwhile the WA SPI Randy Dorn pushes local dollars at the CCSS .... and the SPS considers whether to retain the Queen of MAP testing and TFA as permanent Superintendent .... look for Senator Rodney Tom and Rep. Eric Pettigrew to solve most every concern about those lame do nothing teachers with Value Added Measures for Teacher evaluation "legislative proposals" in Legislature 2012.

On VAM Jay Matthew's wrote...

Harris presents all sides of the issue, but personally concludes that value-added can improve teaching and learning. I believe that, too. But using it to rate individual teachers, except in the privacy of a school principal’s office, is not likely to make schools better. Parents are going to misinterpret it, just as we do.

I think we should apply such measures to entire school buildings animated by teams of teachers, administrators, aides and janitors, and not to one teacher at a time. Am I missing something?

My question is.... where are the tests that are valid enough to apply to the progress of individual teachers? As a school board member testified in Olympia in 2011 ... this legislation looks like a big invitation to SUE US.

Testing could be used as an improvement tool ... but looking at CAO and now interim-Superintendent Enfield ..... even that is not very easy to do .... see elementary school math and the last C&I waiver proposal.
CT said…
Did you hear the one about the Republican AG who wanted to be governor who bailed on meeting with teachers, canceling via email at 5pm the night before after the meeting had already been rescheduled to fit HIS schedule?
Clearly McKenna plans to be a great education governor and thinks highly of teachers. Not.
Will he emulate Scott Walker of Wisconsin, or try for something like Ohio's SB 5 should he actually make it to the top seat?

Ironically, WV says occupl...
dan dempsey said…
Here is the NY Times Op-Ed on Newt =>

Newt’s War on Poor Children
Anonymous said…
News about Gingrich is good for GingRICH!! It isn't about winning the presidency. Can make more money and still be relevant (just look at all the press coverage) by not being a president, but being who he is which is what you see. It sells!

From sampling conversations at recent holiday parties, concern about increasing school segregation (used in its original race/ethnic intent) or a better more acceptable phrase, decreasing diversity, is a very low priority. Keep neighborhood schools for neighborhod kids and families that we know and trust is pretty much the cheer here.

If SPS even go back to using race in its enrollment plan, lots of lawyers are ready to do pro bono to make sure that doesn't happen.

A couple of ethnic looking and well educated, professional folk are good, even better- a couple of cheap, amazing ethnic restaurants will satisfy the need for something different. Bring on Mandarin and Spanish (immersion even better) languages. Diversity can be gotten at schools via world cultural events with displays of different food, dancing, and music. Create awareness by raising funds for needy folks in "developing" world or spreading a little $ to needy schools thereby allowing kids to learn compassion, empathy, and be a better citizen of the world (summarizing all the PR here). With moms, dads, and kids espousing all these good thoughts and good deeds, citizens here are indeed very open-minded, generous, worldly, and blessed!

More important priorities here are class size, bus schedule, advanced learning opportunity or not depending on which camp you belong to, fund raising for arts, athletics, and music, and a safe, well tended neighborhood.

- a peek behind a perfect state
dan dempsey said…
More NEWS ...

Remember that the Super Committee could not make the budget cuts needed...

Now consider the likely cost of the Common Core State Standards => for WA State $300 million and for the nation an estimated $30 Billion.

ChaChing ChaChing

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