Virtual School Meanderings

August 14, 2016

Worth A Read

A regular Sunday feature…

Worth A Read

Who opts out and why? Results from a national survey on opting out of standardized tests

Posted: 10 Aug 2016 09:00 PM PDT

Oren Pizmony-Levy and Nancy Green Saraisky completed a report based on the National Survey on Opting Out of Standardized Tests. Some key findings are: “(1) The opt out movement includes more than just parents who have opted their children out; (2) Approximately three‐quarters of respondents who are parents or guardians of school‐aged children (74.5 percent) have opted their children out of testing; (3) Parents refuse standardized tests even in states where opting out is not permitted or discouraged by policy makers; (4) The typical opt out activist is a highly educated, white, married, politically liberal parent whose children attend public school and whose household median income is well above the national average; (5) Most participants have come to the opt out movement during the past 3‐4 years; (6) The opt out movement is about more than just opposition to high‐stakes testing; (7) Motivations vary, depending on whether the respondent was a teacher or not; and (8) Opt out activists are concerned with current educational reforms and efforts to improve public schools.”

California’s Too-Colorful Accountability Plan

Posted: 10 Aug 2016 09:00 PM PDT

Checker Finn writes about California’s new color-coded approach to school accountability: “Not only is it manifestly discriminatory against color-blind people like me; it’s overall baffling and unhelpful to just about everyone who might ever want to make use of it.”

Debating charter schools: Julian Vasquez Heilig vs. Howard Fuller

Posted: 10 Aug 2016 09:00 PM PDT

Julian Vasquez Heilig appeared on Andre Perry’s WBOK 1230 AM #FREECOLLEGE show. “It’s rare that the media brings a balancing perspective to education reformers arguments for anti-democratic, top-down, private control and privatization of our public schools.”

What Happens to Student Learning When Teachers Change Positions in Schools?

Posted: 09 Aug 2016 09:00 PM PDT

Stephen Sawchuk reports on a new report on teacher “churning.” The study by Allison Attebery, Susanna Loeb, and James Wyckoff looks at the impact of teacher turnover in New York City. “The new research study is among the first to provide some preliminary evidence that this churn, though probably unavoidable to some degree, on average isn’t doing students any favors.”

The teacher pay gap is wider than ever: Teachers’ pay continues to fall further behind pay of comparable workers

Posted: 08 Aug 2016 09:00 PM PDT

Sylvia Allegretto and Lawrence Mishel update their research on teachers’ pay. “What this report finds: The teacher pay penalty is bigger than ever. In 2015, public school teachers’ weekly wages were 17.0 percent lower than those of comparable workers-compared with just 1.8 percent lower in 1994. This erosion of relative teacher wages has fallen more heavily on experienced teachers than on entry-level teachers.”

Summative School Ratings: Not So Great

Posted: 07 Aug 2016 09:00 PM PDT

Peter Greene writes about summative school ratings (grades): “When the primary objective of a school is to make its numbers so that its summative rating doesn’t take a hit, it’s very easy to start seeing students as obstacles or problems — not the whole purpose of the school. Ultimately my objection to summative ratings for schools is that instead of giving schools one more tool for helping students, they get in the way of doing that job — the most important job we have in schools.”

How Think Tanks Amplify Corporate America’s Influence

Posted: 06 Aug 2016 09:00 PM PDT

Eric Lipton and Brooke Williams look into the world of think tanks. The article investigates the complicated role that think tanks play in amplifying corporate influence on public policy. The article is part of a series examining research influence in Washington, D.C.

Thinking About Tests While Rethinking Test-Based Accountability

Posted: 04 Aug 2016 09:00 PM PDT

Matt Di Carlo writes about recently released test results in New York: “That said, no matter what you think of the new NYC approach (and I think there are arguments on both sides), there was an opportunity here not to ignore completely the testing results, but rather to present them in a manner a bit more consistent with building a more comprehensive infrastructure for assessing student and school performance, as NYC officials claim to be attempting to do.”

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