Virtual School Meanderings

May 28, 2017

Worth A Read

A regular Sunday feature.

Worth A Read

Some states make great progress, while children in other states are left behind

Posted: 23 May 2017 09:00 PM PDT

The National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) released ‘The State of Preschool 2016,’ the latest edition of its annual yearbook profiling state-funded prekindergarten programs in the U.S. “Nationwide, state-funded preschool program enrollment reached an all-time high, serving nearly 1.5 million children, 32 percent of 4-year-olds and 5 percent of 3-year-olds. State funding for preschool rose 8 percent to about $7.4 billion, a $564 million increase. State funding per child increased to $4,976, exceeding pre-recession levels for the first time. Six state funded preschool programs met all 10 current quality standards benchmarks. Nine states had programs that met fewer than half; and seven states do not fund preschool at all.”

NASBE Identifies Pros and Cons of Fifth Indicators

Posted: 23 May 2017 09:00 PM PDT

A new series of policy updates from the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE): “explores the pros and cons of five frequently discussed indicators: career and technical education, school climate and student discipline, social and emotional learning, chronic absenteeism, and access to high-level course work. The brief highlights what states have proposed in their ESSA plans so far and offers key considerations for state boards that are refining their plans for September submission.”

Beyond Test Scores: A Better Way to Measure School Quality

Posted: 22 May 2017 09:00 PM PDT

Jack Schneider has written a new book on test scores, however, he thinks it is time to move past these metrics rethink the entire accountability system used in schools. “‘Beyond Test Scores’ reframes current debates over school quality by offering new approaches to educational data that can push us past our unproductive fixation on test scores. Using the highly diverse urban school district of Somerville, Massachusetts, as a case study, Schneider and his research team developed a new framework to more fairly and comprehensively assess educational effectiveness. And by adopting a wide range of measures aligned with that framework, they were able to more accurately capture a broader array of school strengths and weaknesses. Their new data not only provided parents, educators, and administrators with a clearer picture of school performance, but also challenged misconceptions about what makes a good school.”

Mandatory Retention Laws Are Failing Students

Posted: 21 May 2017 09:00 PM PDT

Brenda Álvarez discusses the retention of third grade students, which has become policy in 16 states plus Washington, D.C. “Unless exceptions are made, students most likely to suffer from these laws are students of color, students living in poverty, English language learners, and students with special needs.”

The California Districts With a Leg-Up on ESSA

Posted: 21 May 2017 09:00 PM PDT

Leo Doran looks at nonacademic indicators of student success, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), and how California has been compiling data on new student metrics for several years. Eight California districts, known as the CORE districts, have been using “school climate surveys, rates of chronic absenteeism, and the social emotional mindsets of their students” in their accountability programs.  Also, “The districts were also promising to lower the number of students enrolled necessary to trigger special disaggregated reporting for sub-group status from 100 to 20, which was seen as an important protection for minority or historically marginalized student groups.”

School choice policies may impact segregation and diversity of public schools

Posted: 21 May 2017 09:00 PM PDT

Kristie Auman-Bauer writes about Erica Frankenberg’s work at the Center for Education and Civil Rights at Penn State. According to an interview with Frankenberg, “the new generation of school choice policies adopted in response to legal decisions may actually be increasing school inequalities, despite their goals of maintaining integrated schools.”

NYT: Value Not Added

Posted: 20 May 2017 09:00 PM PDT

Peter Greene discusses a recent article from the New York Times on Value-Added Measuring of teacher performance. “You’ll never find me arguing against any accountability; taxpayers (and I am one) have the right to know how their money is spent. But Sander’s work ultimately wasted a lot of time and money and produced a system about as effective as checking toad warts under a full moon – worse, because it looked all number and sciencey and so lots of suckers believed in it. Carey can be the apologist crafting it all into a charming and earnest tale, but the bottom line is that VAM has done plenty of damage, and we’d all be better off if Sanders had stuck to his radioactive cows.”

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