Monday, August 2, 2010

Editorial: Reality behind Texas' school ratings is murky | News for Dallas, Texas | Dallas Morning News | Opinion: Editorials

Editorial: Reality behind Texas' school ratings is murky | News for Dallas, Texas | Dallas Morning News | Opinion: Editorials

Editorial: Reality behind Texas' school ratings is murky



07:10 PM CDT on Monday, August 2, 2010


In Texas, a single word can make all the difference for a school. The state's accountability ratings use elaborate formulas to mash up the complexities of student performance and affix one of four labels to each campus: exemplary, recognized, acceptable or unacceptable.
Effect on North Texas schools
While many districts saw improved ratings, some of those got help from new rules that give credit for failing students who are predicted to pass future TAKS tests.
• Of the eight local school districts that earned exemplary ratings, four jumped up as a result of the Texas Projection Measure.
• Three of the 17 recognized districts used the projection measure to earn that rating, and nine districts benefited from other rules that boosted them in the ratings.
• Of the 14 districts that saw their ratings improve this year, 10 benefited from one of the rules that gave them a bump up.
And while those ratings didn't tell parents everything they needed to know about their kids' schools, they offered a reasonably consistent and understandable overview of performance.
Not anymore.
The meaning behind those one-word assessments has become murky, as the state started awarding extra credit for failing students who are predicted to pass theTAKS test in the future.
Friday's announcement that huge numbers of schools earned top ratings sounded fabulous on its face. But a closer look revealed that most of the gains

Edujobs Drama Continues - Politics K-12 - Education Week

Edujobs Drama Continues - Politics K-12 - Education Week

Edujobs Drama Continues

Remember we told you the Senate was slated to finally, finally vote on a $10 billion edujobs package tonight? Well, that didn't end up happening.
Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., the Majority Leader, pulled the legislation, which also included $16 billion in Medicaid aid for states, after a cost estimate found that the bill was not completely offset (meaning paid for) by cuts to

Sacramento Press / New Music Teachers’ Association Helps Parents Find Quality, Local Instructors

Sacramento Press / New Music Teachers’ Association Helps Parents Find Quality, Local Instructors

New Music Teachers’ Association Helps Parents Find Quality, Local Instructors

Sacramento, CA — A new music teachers association based in Sacramento is making it easier for parents and aspiring musicians to locate qualified music education programs in their communities. The North American Music Teachers Association (NAMTA) recently launched an online community dedicated to connecting music students with quality teachers and assisting music teachers with the business side of music education.
According to David Terry, a Sacramento resident and president of NAMTA, “Parents and students looking for quality music lessons in their communities enjoy free online access to NAMTA, where they can view our member profiles. One of the things parents appreciate about NAMTA is they can immediately see which music teachers have been background check approved. And that peace of mind is very important in this day and age.”
Viewing NAMTA teacher web pages and reviews by current and former students will help parents and students

Teachers union’s political funds grow and some migrate south | GothamSchools

Teachers union’s political funds grow and some migrate south | GothamSchools

Teachers union’s political funds grow and some migrate south

picture-2New York City’s economy is still suffering, but the teachers union’s political coffers have grown, as have union members’ donations.
An analysis of the United Federation of Teachers’ political activities, done by Kim Gittleson, shows that contributions from union members to the union’s political action committee are at their highest level in 10 years. The amount of money in the fund, called

Explaining to middle schoolers why fair isn’t always equal

Older M.S. 223 students working with the Summer Bridge program made this bulletin board to welcome the new sixth-graders.
Older M.S. 223 students working with the Summer Bridge program made this bulletin board to welcome the new sixth-graders. (Photo courtesy M.S. 223)
School districts around the country are increasingly trying to bring special education students into mainstream classrooms. The challenges this presents — and the possible benefits — were on display last week inside a summer school classroom in the Bronx.
Each summer, the South Bronx’s M.S. 223 brings in as many of its rising sixth-graders as it can find for a


Iffy Senate outlook for state aid package - Boston.com

Iffy Senate outlook for state aid package - Boston.com

Iffy Senate outlook for state aid package

By Andrew Taylor
Associated Press Writer / August 2, 2010
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WASHINGTON—President Barack Obama's Senate allies are taking one last run at advancing what's left of his tattered jobs agenda.
The $26 billion spending measure would help states and local school boards with their budget problems, but its fate is unclear in advance of a key test vote on breaking a GOP filibuster.
The idea is that money -- $16 billion to help states with their Medicaid budgets and $10 billion to help school districts avoid teacher layoffs -- will help preserve the jobs of public employees, giving a boost to

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Durty Handz EdVox

EdVox

Durty Handz

JULY 30, 2010

The phrase “by any means necessary” is most often attributed to the late Malcolm X; however it was the French existentialist philosopher, Jean Paul Sartre who in 1963 coined the phrase in his play Dirty Hands:

“I was not the one to invent lies: they were created in a society divided by class and each of us inherited lies when we were born. It is not by refusing to lie that we will abolish lies: it is by eradicating class by any means necessary.”

Now, 30 years after the passing of Monsieur Sartre we are definitely seeing the effects of dirty hands under the tight grip of Mayor Bloomberg on the NYC public school system, and most unfortunately on children in low income communities of color relegated to attending historically under-performing schools. It would be all too easy to attempt to rest the blame for the abomination that has become public education on the Obama nation, but in actuality for our children these spurious outcomes were never birds in the hand, they remained birds in the Bush.

Last year, both students and families were lulled into the false security of thinking that NYC schools were doing better than ever before: 8th grade passing scores were 57% in ELA and 71% in math. Fast forward to 2010 and the scores reveal that in reality only 38% of 8th graders are

QUICK Hits � The Quick and the Ed

QUICK Hits � The Quick and the Ed

QUICK Hits

Explaining to middle schoolers why fair isn’t always equal | GothamSchools

Explaining to middle schoolers why fair isn’t always equal | GothamSchools

Explaining to middle schoolers why fair isn’t always equal

Older M.S. 223 students working with the Summer Bridge program made this bulletin board to welcome the new sixth-graders.
Older M.S. 223 students working with the Summer Bridge program made this bulletin board to welcome the new sixth-graders. (Photo courtesy M.S. 223)
School districts around the country are increasingly trying to bring special education students into mainstream classrooms. The challenges this presents — and the possible benefits — were on display last week inside a summer school classroom in the Bronx.
Each summer, the South Bronx’s M.S. 223 brings in as many of its rising sixth-graders as it can find for a

Progress on vacancies at Promise Academies | Philadelphia Public School Notebook

Progress on vacancies at Promise Academies | Philadelphia Public School Notebook

Progress on vacancies at Promise Academies

Those teacher vacancies at Promise Academies, still open in late July, are not going unfilled.
District officials reported last week that they were “in the final stages of the hiring process” at the District’s six Promise Academies, and that the large numbers of openings posted on the District’s online vacancies list had been filled.
Last Monday, District spokesperson Fernando Gallard reported the following numbers of vacancies:
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School Tech Connect: Call Now To Keep Teachers Working

School Tech Connect: Call Now To Keep Teachers Working

Call Now To Keep Teachers Working

It's not too late to weigh in on the education jobs bill that's in the senate. They're going to vote tonight, so call, particularly if you are represented by a Republican senator.

Here's an NEA-sponsored number that helps you connect to your senator. It gives you a little coaching first.


1-866-608-6355

The job you save may be your own. It doesn't actually matter: kids all over the country need more teachers and smaller classes. Call right now.

If you've never called your senator, it couldn't be any easier. Here's a recording of me calling Senator Burris (D-IL). I clipped the parts where the senator's staffer was talking; the whole call lasted about 20 seconds.



I would have been a little less cheerful if my senator were a Republican because most Republicans are going to vote against this bill.

Call Now!

*I am not affiliated with or a member of the NEA.If I were still a teacher, I would be.

District hopes changes boost dismal alternative ed graduation rates | Philadelphia Public School Notebook

District hopes changes boost dismal alternative ed graduation rates | Philadelphia Public School Notebook

District hopes changes boost dismal alternative ed graduation rates

by Dale Mezzacappa
More than one out of every 10 students in the School District enrolls in an alternative school at some point during their high school years, according to a recent study of this burgeoning network of schools. But researchers found that low percentages of students who cycle through these schools – many of which are designed to recapture dropouts – actually earn their diplomas.
The study, by Mathematica Policy Research, Inc., has led a watchdog committee mandated under the state takeover for monitoring academic performance to

Hess-tify! � The Quick and the Ed

Hess-tify! � The Quick and the Ed

Hess-tify!

While I’ve enjoyed Rick Hess’s belated entry into the edu-blogosphere, many of his posts still read more like op-eds than true bloggish give-and-take. That changed today with his brutal takedown of Columbia University professor Aaron Pallas’s attack on the DCPS IMPACT teacher evaluation system. Soon after the high-profile announcement that 165 DCPS teachers were being fired based on IMPACT scores, Pallas argued that the value-added test score component of IMPACT was “idiotic.” The problem, as Hess notes, is that Pallas has no idea how IMPACT’s value-added measures actually work and

State releases performance rating for every Oregon public school | OregonLive.com

State releases performance rating for every Oregon public school | OregonLive.com

State releases performance rating for every Oregon public school

Published: Monday, August 02, 2010, 10:00 AM Updated: Monday, August 02, 2010, 10:02 AM
highschoolclass.jpg
The state released federally mandated performance ratings for every Oregon public school this morning.

The ratings, required by the No Child Left Behind law, are based largely on how many students pass state reading and math tests. At first blush, this year's ratings suggest high schools made significant improvements during the past school year. That would be a welcome change after years of stagnant results in 10th-grade test scores.

A record number of high schools -- 45 percent -- met every performance target this year.

The surge in high school achievement was led by schools includingSouthridge High of Beaverton, which made dramatic gains in reading among its special education students, Hispanic students and those learning English as a second language, and Forest Grove High, where most students are poor and half are Latino and where students in every demographic group turned in strong reading and math performances this year.


Statewide, 78 schools face consequences such as having to offer students free tutoring or priority rights to transfer to another school because they have chronically fallen short of performance standards. That represents more Oregon schools under federal sanctions than ever before. Only schools that receive federal Title I funds to help disadvantaged students are hit with consequences for missing No Child Left Behind targets.

The largest of those are Salem's McKay High School and four Salem middle schools, most of which have fallen short of federal performance standards for five straight years.

In the Portland area, the biggest schools facing consequences for chronically failing to meet performance targets include Ron Russell Middle School in Southeast Portland, which must offer



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