Monday, November 30, 2015

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA): Some Eleventh-Hour Observations | deutsch29

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA): Some Eleventh-Hour Observations | deutsch29:

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA): Some Eleventh-Hour Observations

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The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) is the version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) reauthorization that has flown through conference committee and continues on its speedy trek to the House for an expected vote on December 02, 2015.
The document is 1,061 pages long. The public was able to see it for the first time on November 30, 2015.
Zoom, zoom.
I read much of it and skimmed the rest for particular issues of interest. This post includes my notes on my rapid reading of the ESSA document. (Rapid in this case is several hours, but it was a quick read given the document length.)
Here we go.
Pages 7 and 8 declare Duncan’s NCLB waivers “null and void and to have no legal effect on or after August 1, 2016.”
Page 47 notes that for states to be eligible for Title I funds, they must have “challenging academic content standards” that have corresponding, “aligned academic achievement standards” that have at least three levels of achievement. Also, states must demonstrate that their standards are “aligned with entrance requirements for The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA): Some Eleventh-Hour Observations | deutsch29:

California leads drive to reverse focus on standardized tests | EdSource

California leads drive to reverse focus on standardized tests | EdSource:
California leads drive to reverse focus on standardized tests


When President Barack Obama declared that “unnecessary testing” is “consuming too much instructional time” and creating “undue stress for educators and students,” it was another sign that the dominant strategy over the past 15 years to use standardized tests to hold children and schools “accountable” in education reform may have reached a tipping point.
California is on course to have a major impact on reshaping the national discourse – and practice – on this issue. The state is in the middle of devising a new accountability system, a massive and complex undertaking in a state as large and diverse as California, that is intended to go far beyond a narrow preoccupation with test scores.
President Obama’s recent anti-testing pronouncements are especially significant because using test scores as the dominant measure of school and student progress has been central to his K-12 education reform agenda.
Arne Duncan, Obama’s departing secretary of education, acknowledged the administration’s contribution to the problem. “It’s important that we’re all honest with ourselves,” he said. “At the federal, state and local level, we have all supported policies that have contributed to the problem in implementation. We can and will work with states, districts and educators to help solve it.”
By contrast, Gov. Jerry Brown has been consistent in challenging the role of testing – and has clashed repeatedly with the Obama administration on this issue, even before he returned to the governorship in 2011.
Brown likes to recount what was apparently a seminal experience while he was a student at St. Ignatius College Prep in San Francisco, when the only question on an exam asked students to give their impressions of a green leaf.
“Still, as I walk by trees, I keep saying, ‘How’s my impression coming? Can I feel anything? Am I dead inside?’ So, this was a very powerful question that has haunted me for 50 years.”
The point, Brown says, is that “you can’t put that on a standardized test. There are important educational encounters that can’t be captured by California leads drive to reverse focus on standardized tests | EdSource:

THE DEAL: Baraka and Cerf become school “reform” allies | Bob Braun's Ledger

THE DEAL: Baraka and Cerf become school “reform” allies | Bob Braun's Ledger:

THE DEAL: Baraka and Cerf become school “reform” allies




The deal last June was a stunner for many reasons–Newark Mayor Ras Baraka and Republican Gov. Chris Christie cut a bargain to bring in former state schools chief Christopher Cerf, a charter school champion, to be the city schools superintendent. It didn’t initially make a lot of sense but, after the joint Cerf/Baraka announcement later today, Tuesday, city residents might get a better idea of what happened behind closed doors last spring that led to today’s surprising result: Baraka and Christie have become partners in school reform.
As this site reported last week,  Baraka and Cerf will jointly promote a so-called “community schools initiative” aimed at making just one neighborhood in the city, its impoverished South Ward,  into a showcase for Baraka’s idea for school reform: local schools that also serve as centers for providing health care and other services to neighborhood residents.

Former Mayor Cory Booker, Cerf, and Anderson--architects of the privatization of many Newark schools.
Former Mayor Cory Booker, Cerf, and Anderson–architects of the privatization of many Newark schools.

And here’s another shocker: The Cerf/Baraka plan will seek at least some of its funding for the plan from funds given to the city by Facebook billionaire Mark Zuckerberg, who donated $100 million to Newark to jumpstart what was supposed to be a plan–backed by former Mayor Cory Booker–to make Newark the “charter school capital of the nation.” Recent reportsindicate that about $30 million of that money still exists in the accounts of the Foundation for Newark’s Future (FNF). FNF’s president, Kimberly Baxter McLain, will be part of the joint announcement at City Hall the morning of Tuesday, Dec. 1.
Baraka became mayor in the May, 2014, election primarily because of his opposition to state control, personified by then state-appointed superintendent Cami Anderson–a woman who was appointed city schools chief by Cerf in 2011 when Cerf was state education commissioner. Many of the actions taken by Anderson–including the closing of public schools, expansion of charters, failure to follow state law and regulations–were either outlined in a plan Cerf wrote for the state when he THE DEAL: Baraka and Cerf become school “reform” allies | Bob Braun's Ledger:

Report: Tougher admission to California universities bad for the state | 89.3 KPCC

Report: Tougher admission to California universities bad for the state | 89.3 KPCC:

Report: Tougher admission to California universities bad for the state





California's public universities are becoming increasingly out of reach for all but the most elite students, a new report by the L.A.-based Campaign for College Opportunity argues. 
The group’s report, "Access Denied: Rising Selectivity at California’s Public Universities," details how policymakers have not only failed to keep up with population growth but also have shut access to students through funding cuts that have reduced the number of seats available at the state’s two public university systems.
“I think all of us who live here in California should be worried about, what does the future look like 20 years from now when not enough of our citizens got the college education they need to succeed in this work force?” said Michele Siquieros, the group’s president.
The state's population has grown 265 percent since 1950, according to the report, while the University of California and the California State University systems have endured budget cuts. In response, administrators have increased tuition 200 percent at U.C. since 2000, while tuition at CSU has gone up 175 percent in the same time period.
At CSU, budget cuts forced administrators to turn away nearly 140,000 eligible students between 2009-2014, while at U.C. the competition for admission has led to entering classes with average grade point averages higher than 4.0 at six of nine campuses.
Researchers predict that with the technology and problem solving skills many new jobs require – usually obtained through higher education – California will fall short way short of college educated workers by 2030.
“Does it really make sense that we’re not sending equally talented students -- that are for the most part also A and B students -- to have that chance to go to college,” Siqueiros said.
In 1960 the public universities agreed to limit U.C. admission to the top 12.5 percent Report: Tougher admission to California universities bad for the state | 89.3 KPCC:

#STOPESEA | Save Maine Schools

#STOPESEA | Save Maine Schools:

#STOPESEA

squirrel-nooo




For several months, I have been blogging like a madman about my suspicions that we are being ushered into a new era of embedded, competency-based assessment that has been planned behind the scenes for years by the testinged-tech, and student loan industries.
And now here we are.  The final bicameral version of the ESEA rewrite has been released for us to view, two days before the House intends to vote on it.
I wonder – are our Congressmen busy doing what many of us are tonight?  Searching this document madly to see what’s in it?  Trying to make sense of which clauses go with what, and what all the double-speak actually means?
Do they know what is meant by “competency-based“?  How about “instructionally embedded”?  Do they know the difference between community schools and Community Schools?
What will your representative think when (if?) he or she reads this section below?  Do they know who stands to gain from all of this, and what it may mean for our kids?
INNOVATIVE ASSESSMENT SYSTEM DEFINED:
The term ‘innovative assessment system’ means a system of assessments that may include competency-based assessments, instructionally embedded assessments, interim assessments, cumulative year-end assessments, or performance-based assessments that combine into an
annual summative determination for a student which may be administered through computer adaptive assessments; and assessments that validate when students are ready to demonstrate mastery or proficiency and allow for differentiated student support based on individual learning needs.
Please call if you haven’t and ask them to delay this vote.  We need time to explain to them what all this means.

                  202-224-3121

Here he is again, the No Squirrel: 
squirrel-nooo

Special Nite Cap: Catch Up on Today's Post 11/30/15



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