Virtual School Meanderings

February 26, 2017

Worth A Read

A regular Sunday feature.

Worth A Read


New 9-minute Documentary on Threatened School Closings in Michigan

Posted: 21 Feb 2017 09:00 PM PST

We the People of Detroit’s Community Research Collective has produced a short documentary that examines the causes and effects of school closings in Detroit.

The Decline of Accountability

Posted: 21 Feb 2017 09:00 PM PST

Peter Greene discusses the policy movement regarding accountability in the Trump/DeVos era. “Accountability matters. We’ll just have to see how completely reformsters will stop caring about it now that they are sitting in the driver’s seat as the new status quo.”

Study: Weakening Tenure in Louisiana May Have Caused Thousands of Teachers to Quit

Posted: 21 Feb 2017 09:00 PM PST

Matt Barnum reports on a new research brief on teacher tenure and teacher exits in Louisiana. “The research gives credence to concerns that limiting teacher job protections can make the job less appealing and increase teacher attrition.”

Michigan shuts down bad schools. Leading states build them up.

Posted: 20 Feb 2017 09:00 PM PST

Chastity Pratt Dawsey investigates the threatened closure of 38 schools in Michigan. “Researchers across the country say Michigan’s school accountability law is in a class all its own. They note that no other state requires the closure each year of its lowest-performing public schools. To the contrary, higher-performing states focus instead on first trying to take concrete steps to improve failing schools by replacing school leaders or adopting other strong measures.”

200 Million Test Scores and What Do We Know? Income, Race, and the Geography of Educational Opportunity in the U.S.

Posted: 19 Feb 2017 09:00 PM PST

Sean Reardon, Professor of Poverty and Inequality in Education and Professor of Sociology at Stanford University, will explore academic performance and racial/ethnic achievement gaps in a public seminar series on Monday, February 27, 2017. The event will be held at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. It will be live streamed. “Professor Reardon’s research focuses on the causes, patterns, trends, and consequences of social and educational inequality, the effects of educational policy on educational and social inequality, and in applied statistical methods for educational research.”

The Gap Within the Gap: Using Longitudinal Data to Understand Income Differences in Educational Outcomes

Posted: 31 Jan 2017 09:00 PM PST

Katharine Michelmore and Susan Dynarski discuss a new measure of economic disadvantage. “Survey data show that the number of years that a child will spend eligible for subsidized lunch is negatively correlated with her or his current household income. Years eligible for subsidized meals can therefore be used as a reasonable proxy for income. Our proposed measure can be used to estimate heterogeneous effects in program evaluations, to improve value-added calculations, and to better target resources.”

February 23, 2017

Faulty Logic And Incomplete Analyses Limit Report On Teacher Evaluation Reform

From Tuesday’s inbox.

February 21, 2017

Contact:
Amy N. Farley, (513) 556-5111, amy.farley@uc.edu
Daniel Quinn, (517) 203-2940, dquinn@greatlakescenter.org

Faulty logic and incomplete analyses limit report on teacher evaluation reform

EAST LANSING, Mich. (Feb. 21, 2017) — In December 2016, Bellwether Education Partners released a report that advocated for the maintenance of key elements of high-stakes teacher evaluation, with a focus on accountability and the use of student outcomes to evaluate teachers. The report sought to influence states’ decisions about possible revisions to teacher evaluation policies under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). An academic review of the report finds that its conclusions are underdeveloped and unsubstantiated.

Amy Farley, University of Cincinnati, reviewed For Good Measure? Teacher Evaluation Policy in the ESSA Era for the Think Twice think tank review project. Think Twice, a project of the National Education Policy Center, is funded in part by the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice.

Since 2009, the federal government has spurred states make wide reaching changes to teacher evaluation laws. This report sought to review recent teacher evaluation policy movement and identify positive outcomes of the new systems and negative consequences. It urged policymakers to move slowly in revising their systems.

Farley says, “While the report raises several good questions with regard to the future of teacher evaluation, it overstates the likelihood that ESSA will result in widespread changes to evaluations.”

According to Farley, the report ignores the extant literature regarding substantial technical challenges and unintended consequences of growth measures. Also, the report dismissed the ideological and political debates surrounding teacher accountability.

In conclusion, Farley finds “The unsubstantiated claims and dogged defense of student growth metrics provide little fresh or worthwhile new directions to policymakers seeking a nuanced and research-based discussion of teacher evaluation reform in the ESSA era.”

Find the review on the GLC website:
http://www.greatlakescenter.org

Find the report on the web:
http://bellwethereducation.org/publication/good-measure-teacher-evaluation-policy-essa-era

Think Twice, a project of the National Education Policy Center, provides the public, policymakers and the press with timely, academically sound reviews of selected publications. The project is made possible by funding from the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice.

The review can also be found on the NEPC website:
http://nepc.colorado.edu

– ### –

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The mission of the Great Lakes Center for Education, Research & Practice is to support and disseminate high quality research and reviews of research for the purpose of informing education policy and to develp reasearch-based resources for use by those who advocate for education reform.

Visit the Great Lakes Center website at http://www.greatlakescenter.org/

February 19, 2017

Worth A Read

A regular Sunday feature…

Worth A Read


We Have to Say More About Teacher Evaluation Reforms Than Just ‘They Didn’t Work’

Posted: 15 Feb 2017 09:00 PM PST

Chad Aldeman discusses the failure of contemporary teacher evaluation systems. He focuses on what states could learn from the last eight years. He concludes, “Rather than discarding this era and moving on, as states and advocates seem won’t to do, we should learn from this massive effort: what worked and what didn’t work and why.”

Investigation: Charter school leaders, founders linked to controversial Turkish cleric

Posted: 15 Feb 2017 09:00 PM PST

Jean Rimbach, Jeff Pillets, and Hannan Adely investigate the impact of a Turkish cleric on New Jersey charter schools. “[A]n investigation by The Record and NorthJersey.com shows that some founders and leaders of the schools  have close ties to the movement of Fethullah Gulen, the controversial Islamic cleric accused of working to overthrow the government in his native Turkey last summer.”

New CEP Common Core Reports

Posted: 14 Feb 2017 09:00 PM PST

The Center on Education Policy (CEP) released two new reports this week on state standards and assessments. The first, ‘District Leadership in the New Era of Assessment,’ looked at school district leaders in 42 Common Core-adopting states. The other, ‘What Do Teachers and District Leaders Feel about State Standards and Assessments?,’ is part of a three report summary on leaders’ and teachers’ views on the standards.

Imagine a World With an ESSA Statute – But No Accountability Regulations

Posted: 13 Feb 2017 09:00 PM PST

Andrew Ujifusa writes about the possible end of federal accountability rules under ESSA. “Without regulations, state and local officials will just have to show they’re meeting the statute, a much lower legal burden than if they had to meet the more specific elements of regulations from the Education Department.”

Report from Indiana University center examines state education funding

Posted: 12 Feb 2017 09:00 PM PST

The Center for Evaluation & Education Policy (CEEP) at Indiana University released a new report this week to help guide Indiana legislators during their budget development process. The report was commissioned by the Indiana State Board of Education. There were four key findings: “(1) enrollment is projected to decline modestly in the state’s public schools in 2017, compared to 2009, with larger declines in traditional public schools than in charter schools; (2) the state’s public school corporations experienced substantial changes in state funding between 2009 and 2017; (3) state funding for school operations is projected to increase through July 2017; however, the increases, when adjusted for inflation, are not sufficient to fully restore funding to pre-2009 levels; and (4) the current funding-formula policy improved equity throughout the study period. Projections indicate that high levels of equity will be achieved in 2017. Equity in funding looks at whether school corporations serving similar types of students (in terms of student income) receive similar funding.”

Not Getting Enough Sleep? Tired Teachers Aren’t Usually the Best Teachers

Posted: 12 Feb 2017 09:00 PM PST

Dave Stuart, Jr. discusses the impact of sleep on teachers. “Unfortunately, individual educators can’t do much to make sure their students sleep enough at night, although districts across the country have been devising new policies – including later start times, even nap clubs – to bring schools more in sync with teen sleep patterns. What we can do is pay attention to our own sleep lives. This, it turns out, is something teachers tend to be bad at  – especially early career educators. Too often, in an effort to “get it all done,” teachers stay up late and wake up early, operating on increasingly worsening sleep deficits and calling it a strong work ethic.”

February 15, 2017

School Turnaround Report Falls Short

From yesterday’s inbox…

February 14, 2017

Contact:
Betty Malen, (301) 405-3587, malen@umd.edu
Daniel J. Quinn, (517) 203-2940, dquinn@greatlakescenter.org

School Turnaround Report Falls Short

EAST LANSING, Mich. (Feb. 14, 2017) — A recent report from the Center on Reinventing Public Education (CRPE) attempted to provide evidence for states seeking to better support state-initiated turnaround strategies. The report sought to identify effective mechanisms states can use to improve school performance. A review of the report found it offers some useful background, but falls short of achieving its goals.

Betty Malen and Jennifer King Rice, University of Maryland, reviewed the report, Measures of Last Resort: Assessing Strategies for State-Initiated Turnarounds, for the Think Twice think tank review project. Think Twice, a project of the National Education Policy Center (NEPC), is funded in part by the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice.

Despite its stated goals, the reviewers found that it fails to deliver. The reviewers say, “At best, it provides a broad-brush profile of the various forms of state initiated turnarounds.”

Although the report draws on multiple sources of information, the review finds the following limitations:

  1. The report fails to elevate the research base or the policy discourse;
  2. The methods used are neither well-described nor justified;
  3. The evidence provided does not support the claims made; and
  4. The report neglects to consider relevant research on the specific turnaround mechanisms available to states.

Malen and Rice conclude, “As a result of these problems, the report does not enhance the evidence base or provide the substantive guidance to state policymakers require to make informed decisions about the use of the various school turnaround strategies.”

Find the review on the GLC website:
http://www.greatlakescenter.org

Find the report on the web:
https://crpe.org/publications/measures-last-resort

Think Twice, a project of the National Education Policy Center, provides the public, policymakers and the press with timely, academically sound reviews of selected publications. The project is made possible by funding from the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice.

The review can also be found on the NEPC website:
http://nepc.colorado.edu

– ### –

Friend on Facebook

Follow on Twitter

The mission of the Great Lakes Center for Education, Research & Practice is to support and disseminate high quality research and reviews of research for the purpose of informing education policy and to develp reasearch-based resources for use by those who advocate for education reform.

Visit the Great Lakes Center website at http://www.greatlakescenter.org/

February 12, 2017

Worth A Read

A regular Sunday feature…

Worth A Read


Distortion in A-F Accountability Scales

Posted: 07 Feb 2017 09:00 PM PST

David Casalaspi provides an overview of A-F report cards. He concludes, “An A-F grading system might be appealing for its simplicity, but it also risks painting with too broad a brush, and policymakers will therefore have to be cautious.”

Addressing California’s Growing Teacher Shortage: 2017 Update

Posted: 07 Feb 2017 09:00 PM PST

Desiree Carver-Thomas & Linda Darling-Hammond update a January 2016 report on teacher shortages in California. “While the state has made initial investments in increasing the supply of well-prepared teachers, these investments will take time to yield qualified educators. More action is needed to ensure a robust, well-prepared teacher workforce now and into the future.”

Do For-Profit Managers Spend Less on Schools and Instruction? A National Analysis of Charter School Staffing Expenditures

Posted: 06 Feb 2017 09:00 PM PST

Mark Weber and Bruce Baker look at “school site expenditures to evaluate spending variations between traditional district operated schools and charter schools operated by for-profit versus nonprofit management firms.” Their study found that charters spend less per pupil on instructional salaries compared with public school districts. Additionally, Weber and Baker find that for-profit charters spend less on instructional salaries than nonprofits.

House Votes to Overturn ESSA Accountability, Teacher-Prep Rules

Posted: 06 Feb 2017 09:00 PM PST

Andrew Ujifusa covers an action by the U.S. House of Representatives to overturn key provisions of accountability and teacher-prep policies under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

Moody’s: Closures may hit Michigan school districts financially

Posted: 05 Feb 2017 09:00 PM PST

Lori Higgins writes about the impact of proposed school closings on the finances of Michigan school districts. According to a report from Moody’s Investors Services: “The school closing process adds unpredictability to an already volatile sector and is credit negative for the affected districts because it makes budgeting for operations challenging and threatens revenues.”

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