Monday, December 13, 2010

Shael Polakow-Suransky Is Believer in (More) Testing - NYTimes.com

Shael Polakow-Suransky Is Believer in (More) Testing - NYTimes.com

New Guidelines Make Teacher Tenure Less Automatic in New York City

An elaborate new system asks principals to rate prospective lifetime school employees on their performance in and outside the classroom.

New No. 2 at City Schools Believes in More Testing

Richard Perry/The New York Times

Shael Polakow-Suransky, set to be New York schools’ second-in-command, says tests are an important measurement tool: “To put it very simply, how do you know that the kids are learning?”

He stood out at Community High School in Ann Arbor, Mich., an experimental school light on structure that was mockingly called “Commie High,” and at Brown, the Ivy League university known for giving students free rein, and where one of his inspirations was an education dean who espoused flexibility in teaching.

Mr. Polakow-Suransky with his mother, Valerie Polakow, a professor of teacher education at Eastern Michigan University.

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Today, Shael Polakow-Suransky is the chief accountability officer of the New York City Department of Education, a job that is as institutional as they come. He traffics in hard numbers, overseeing a system that assigns grades to schools based on complex and fixed formulas, in which success depends largely on how students score on a single test.

On Jan. 3, he will become the No. 2 official in the nation’s largest school system, the educational counterpart toCathleen P. Black, the businesswoman chancellor. Because of his background at Brown and as a teacher familiar with real-world classroom challenges, his appointment tempered some fears that Ms. Black would run the schools too much by the numbers. But one thing Mr. Polakow-Suransky and his colleagues make clear is that he is a believer in the



Final candidates certified in race for L.A. Board of Education | L.A. NOW | Los Angeles Times

Final candidates certified in race for L.A. Board of Education | L.A. NOW | Los Angeles Times

Final candidates certified in race for L.A. Board of Education

December 13, 2010 | 6:57 pm

A much-anticipated face-off between Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and the city’s teachers union began to take shape with the final certification Monday of candidates for the March school board elections. Four of the seven seats on the city’s Board of Education are up for grabs.

The current majority is allied more or less with Villaraigosa, who publicly cut longstanding ties this month with United Teachers Los Angeles, calling the union the chief obstacle to school reform in the city. The union, in turn, has defended its record.

In District 1, covering much of south and southwest Los Angeles, the union has endorsed two-term incumbent Marguerite Poindexter LaMotte. She will be opposed by civil rights advocate Eric Lee, head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Greater Los Angeles. While the mayor ha

A Small-Minded, Easily-Swayed American Public — Open Education

A Small-Minded, Easily-Swayed American Public — Open Education

A Small-Minded, Easily-Swayed American Public

Over the past month we are witness once again to the incredibly myopic view of our citizenry as well as that of our elected officials. We as a country are stuck in a collective rut, allowing ourselves to be swayed by the best sound bites reproduced over and over again on the cable news networks, the best Republican bites and worst Democratic offerings replicated repeatedly on Fox, the reverse on MSNBC.

Back in 2005, James McGann took a look at one of the places our ideas come from, the concept of a “think-tank.” McGann noted the famous quote offered by Bill Baroody Sr. of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI).

“The competition of ideas is fundamental to a free society.”

I could not agree more.

While reviewing this notion, McGann suggests that conservative think-tanks were created to “develop an alternative set of ideas …. intended to challenge the liberal orthodoxy that dominated policy debates in Washington and on college campuses throughout the United States. McGann notes that these institutions initially were able to achieve “their objective through thoughtful and independent analysis of policy issues.”

UC approves changes to pension & retiree health care - Health & Fitness - sacbee.com #UCDavis

UC approves changes to pension & retiree health care - Health & Fitness - sacbee.com

UC approves changes to pension & retiree health care

Published: Monday, Dec. 13, 2010 - 5:18 pm

The University of California's governing board of regents took heat from both ends of the political spectrum this afternoon as it voted to change retiree health care and pension benefits for future employees, with some critics saying the new plan is cruel to low-wage workers and others saying it's more generous than the university can afford.

By a 14-3 vote, regents approved a package of reforms designed to help close the $21 billion unfunded liability in UC's retiree health and pension programs. The plan makes retiree health care more expensive for everyone who retires from UC - those who have already retired as well as current and future employees - by gradually reducing the amount the university pays from 89



Read more: http://www.sacbee.com/2010/12/13/3255144/uc-approves-changes-to-pension.html#ixzz183DgdGPQ

Don’t be shocked Ken. I think you’re right. « Fred Klonsky's blog

Don’t be shocked Ken. I think you’re right. « Fred Klonsky's blog

Don’t be shocked Ken. I think you’re right.

It’s no secret that I have been greatly disappointed by the policies of the IEA leadership this past year or so. There’s no need to go into it again here. All the posts are archived.

But tonight I agree with IEA President Ken Swanson and IEA Executive Director Audrey Soglin about what the General Assembly should do about education reform during the present lame duck session.

Nothing.

Says Ken,

“Education reform is too important to rush through in a few days of lame duck

Me First, Students Second, on Huffington Post — The Jose Vilson

Me First, Students Second, on Huffington Post — The Jose Vilson

Me First, Students Second, on Huffington Post



From the Huff:

After all, it’s about the students first. In the nation’s capital, where the poverty rate is close to 20 percent and the largest school systems continue to get more third-party vendors and lobbyists (like her company), some of her first words were “We will no longer describe failure as the result of vast impersonal forces like poverty or a broken bureaucracy.” Her failure to even mention poverty as a huge factor in this capitalist system pales in comparison to the vanishing act of those words in the lexicon of the cabal of education reformers. As someone whose message reeks of popular consent, she’s put a playhouse mirror on her entire message and reflected it so it

Remainders: Black’s nuanced take on releasing teacher ratings | GothamSchools

Remainders: Black’s nuanced take on releasing teacher ratings | GothamSchools

Remainders: Black’s nuanced take on releasing teacher ratings

  • Francis Lewis High School students have extended an open invitation to Cathie Black. (NY1)
  • Black can see both sides of the debate over releasing teacher ratings, she told the Daily News.
  • Unusually for high school, one Bronx teacher has “looped” with many of his students. (JD2718)
  • The city’s policy on bringing the holiday season to school: Discuss, but don’t endorse. (Insideschools)
  • David Bloomfield: The way Cathie Black was chosen has fatally damaged her leadership. (EdVox)
  • Parents say they don’t understand why the city wants to close MS 571 in Prospect Heights. (The Local)
  • Two years after delivering a scathing review, an expert praises a Boston charter school. (Mike Goldstein)
  • A top DOE charter school official is leaving to head the Hebrew Charter School Center. (JTA)
  • Advice for teachers who want to write lessons about national education news stories. (Learning Network)
  • An assistant principal at Grover Cleveland HS in Queens is bringing geocaching to his students. (Times)
  • Geoffrey Canada says libraries play an important role in improving schools. (School Library Journal)
  • A $3 billion Ca. initiative to lower class size and add counselors is working, a study says. (EdWeek)
  • Students should rate their teachers, but not on anonymous sites, says one teacher. (Pissed Off Teacher)
  • A teacher reports being told her school is going charter, then not. (Peace in the Classroom)
  • Students at Brooklyn’s John Jay campus aren’t happy about a new school moving in. (OTBKB)

Schools Matter: Stop the Corporate Closure of 11 Boston Public Schools: We Can Do This

Schools Matter: Stop the Corporate Closure of 11 Boston Public Schools: We Can Do This

Stop the Corporate Closure of 11 Boston Public Schools: We Can Do This

Click poster to enlarge, copy, and share.

Be at English High 5 pm Wednesday December 14, 144 McBride Street. Let your voices be heard to stop this stealth takeover by the corporate foundations. Let's do this!

Capitol Alert: New bill requires gay history in textbooks to fight bullying

Capitol Alert: New bill requires gay history in textbooks to fight bullying

Openly gay state Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, introduced a bill today that would require public school materials to include the historical contributions of gay people as a way to fight bullying.

Leno's Senate Bill 48 is similar to a proposal that was approved by the Legislature in 2006 but vetoed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

"Most textbooks don't include any historical information about the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) movement, which has great significance to both California and U.S. history," Leno said in a press release. Leno was recently named to prominent leadership as chairman of the Senate Budget Committee.

Leno added: "Our collective silence on this issue perpetuates negative stereotypes of LGBT people and leads to increased bullying of young people."

The bill's aim is to work information about historical figures and events into materials that are up for



Read more: http://blogs.sacbee.com/capitolalertlatest/2010/12/sen-leno-hopes-gay-history-bil.html#ixzz182ScL1Pj

Schools Matter: Founding Leaders of the Status Quo Call for No Labels, Just Dollar $igns

Schools Matter: Founding Leaders of the Status Quo Call for No Labels, Just Dollar $igns

Founding Leaders of the Status Quo Call for No Labels, Just Dollar $igns

Originally inspired by Lee Atwater's brain-rotting politics of personal destruction, the corporate swindlers of the Business Roundtable in the late 80s created a bipartisan network of political prostitutes, leeches, think tankers, and yes men who would use their influence to advance the bare-knuckled and relentless attack by the BR and the Chamber on public institutions, an ongoing attack that is fueled by a divisive and corrosive rhetoric that labels, slanders, intimidates, and destroys. Pols of both parties have been bought in this effort over the past 15 years, and for long time it seemed that the corporate socialists would prevail with ease. They still might.

What these greed merchants and social antiquarians couldn't count on, however, is the overreaching and overarching greed that resulted in the Heist of the Century by the Wall Street banksters who just couldn't get enough of a good thing. The fallout has hurt the Billionaire Boys Club, those arrogant pricksters of white privileg

Is this data-driven decision-making? « Failing Schools

Is this data-driven decision-making? « Failing Schools

Is this data-driven decision-making?

DECEMBER 13, 2010
by Sabrina

Accountability and results. That’s what school reform ├á la NCLB and RTTT is supposed to be all about, right? In order to ensure that all kids are getting the education they need and deserve, we need to set high goals and expectations, and then “measure to see if we’re gettin’ results.“ When we measure (and measure and measure…), and find that we’re not getting results, we have to do something about it. That’s the primary justification for turnarounds where teachers are fired en masse, and when schools are closed or converted to charters.

So why doesn’t this same hard-line approach seem to apply to supplemental educational services (SES) providers? The No Child Left Behind act stipulates that low-income children in low-performing schools are entitled to receive tutoring to help bring them up to grade level, at no

Leonie Haimson: Bloomberg, Cathie Black, Bill Gates, and the Condescension of the Oligarchy

Leonie Haimson: Bloomberg, Cathie Black, Bill Gates, and the Condescension of the Oligarchy

Despite their insistence that nothing matters more than the quality of teaching, the oligarchy of corporate reformers and billionaires that is currently driving education policy in this country has launched a sharp attack on the whole concept of professionalism in the field of public education.

This trend has culminated in Mayor Bloomberg's recent appointment of a magazine executive, Cathie Black, as New York City Schools Chancellor, despite the fact that she has no education experience, training, or demonstrated interest in the field of public education. Though she cited her membership on an advisory board of a Harlem charter school, this apparently did not actually involve any meetings or actual involvement on her part, and the school itself has been riddled with problems, including high levels of teacher attrition and student suspensions.

The oligarchy's determined attack on professionalism in the field of education is also implicit in the

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