Virtual School Meanderings

August 13, 2017

Worth A Read

A regular Sunday feature.

Worth A Read

Where Do Achievement Gaps Come From?

Posted: 09 Aug 2017 09:00 PM PDT

Matt DiCarlo’s recent blog is a reaction to an analysis by David Figlio and Krzystof Karbownik, which attempted to uncover why some schools are better at closing the achievement gap than others. DiCarlo writes, “…it is misleading and potentially damaging to hold a school accountable for the persistence of that [achievement] gap in later grades – particularly in cases where public policy has failed to provide the extra resources and supports that might help lower-performing students make accelerated achievement gains every year. In addition, the coarseness of current educational variables, particularly those usually used as income proxies, limits the detail and utility of some subgroup measures.”

Why the NAACP said ‘enough’ to school privatization

Posted: 08 Aug 2017 09:00 PM PDT

Rann Miller discusses the NAACP’s new report on charter schools, which calls for tighter regulation and an end to for-profit schools. “Charter advocates and school choice proponents painted the NAACP as out of touch, or worse, doing the bidding of the teachers unions. These critics are missing what’s most important about the civil rights group’s strong statement. School privatization has allowed state governments to avoid their obligation to educate children of color, especially the poor. The NAACP said ’enough’ this week.”

When Privatization Means Segregation: Setting the Record Straight on School Vouchers

Posted: 08 Aug 2017 09:00 PM PDT

Leo Casey discusses the issue of private school vouchers. “Try as privatization advocates might, there is no getting around the segregationist history of school vouchers in the United States. From Milton Friedman to the recalcitrant white elites of Prince Edward County and the legislators they voted in, the forerunners of today’s ‘school choice’ movement understood their freedom as the freedom to deny others an equal education. That history continues into the present: empirical studies of voucher programs in the United States and internationally show that they increase segregation in schools.”

The complications of state-level education policymaking

Posted: 07 Aug 2017 09:00 PM PDT

Andy Smarick looks at state-level education policymaking in the current policy climate. “It is sometimes said that the last 15 years of federal over-activity in education caused ‘learned helplessness’ among state policymakers — they don’t know what to do or are afraid to do it because of Uncle Sam’s intrusiveness. I, respectfully, disagree.”

The predictable result of demonizing teachers: Detroit schools face massive teacher shortage

Posted: 06 Aug 2017 09:00 PM PDT

Chris Savage writes about a looming teacher shortage in Detroit. “If you’ve been watching the ever-increasing demonization of teachers in Michigan over the past decade, you probably have asked yourself at one time or another, ‘Why the hell would ANYONE want to be a teacher in Michigan?’”

States’ New Plans for Complying with the Every Student Succeeds Act Confirms Just How Little the Law Expects of States

Posted: 06 Aug 2017 09:00 PM PDT

Derek Black looks at the implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). “In the end, these plans reveal the central flaw in the ESSA:  its success rests on the extent to which states are willing to engage in good faith efforts to provide equal and adequate opportunities.  As NPR writes, parents must simply trust their states.  Unfortunately, recent history reveals there is almost no reason to place this faith in states.  They have slashed public education budgets, manipulated test scores, and watched school segregation increase.”

CREDO Charter School Studies’ ‘X Days Of Learning’ Conversion: Still Unvalidated

Posted: 04 Aug 2017 09:00 PM PDT

Mark Weber writes about a recent CREDO report on charter schools from Texas. “In the case of the CREDO reports, avoiding a validity argument for presenting effect sizes in ‘days of learning’ has led to media reports on the effects of charter schools and policy decisions regarding charter proliferation that are based on conclusions that have not been validated. That is not to say these decisions are necessarily harmful; rather, that they are based on a reporting of the effects of charter schools that avoided having to make an argument for the validity of using test scores.”

Louisiana teachers to face tougher job reviews in new school year under controversial evaluations

Posted: 04 Aug 2017 09:00 PM PDT

Will Sentell discusses controversial teacher evaluations in Louisiana. “After a four-year moratorium, around 15,000 of the state’s roughly 50,000 teachers will again have their annual job reviews linked to how students fare on key tests.”

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