Education News from Washington Post
Education historian and activist Diane Ravitch wrote the following in memory of Robin Williams.
By Diane Ravitch
We have become accustomed in recent years to seeing films in which teachers are shown as lazy, greedy slugs. This fits nicely with the corporate reform narrative that seeks to strip all honor, dignity, and rights from teachers. Teachers don’t deserve those mean-spirited caricatures, nor the treatment they receive from legislatures.Read full article >>
Students and teachers at Henry A. Wise Jr. High School in Upper Marlboro will return to school in celebration mode later this month.
Wise received the Best High School award from the Steve Harvey Neighborhood Awards during a star-studded program at Philips Arena in Atlanta on Saturday.Read full article >>
The death of Robin Williams, who was reported to be suffering from severe depression and is believed to have committed suicide, brings into stark relief the very serious but too-often-ignored issue of depression in people of all ages, including teenage students and toddlers.Read full article >>
To call the woman who is about to take the helm of the National Education Association “outspoken” would be something of an understatement. Lily Eskelsen García, who will take over next month as president of the largest teachers union in the country (and, for that matter, the largest union of any kind in the country), is nauseatingly sick of what she calls “factory school reform” and she doesn’t mind telling everybody about it in clear, challenging words. “Stop doing stupid,” she says.Read full article >>
The late Robin Williams credited his “gestalt high school” in California with sparking his interest in entertainment. Born in Chicago, he grew up in Michigan, where he attended the private Detroit Country Day School. He told interviewers that he was bullied by classmates when he was young because he was overweight, and he played at home by himself a lot. After moving as a teenager to California’s Marin County with his family, he attended the public Redwood High School, where he joined the drama club and became involved in theater. Then he enrolled in Claremont Men’s College in Claremont, California (now Claremont McKenna College), where he studied political science. He left Claremont and attended the College of Marin, where he studied theater, and in 1973 moved to New York to study as one of 20 freshmen at the famed Julliard School. In 1996, he gave an interview to the Detroit Free Press while promoting a movie called Jack, in which he played a boy who has a disease that causes him to age four times faster than normal. In that interview he talked about how much he loved school and was not, perhaps surprisingly, the class clown.Read full article >>
Strauss: Robin Williams’ commencement speech in ’96 film ‘Jack’: ‘In the end none of us has very long on this Earth’
In the 1996 film Jack, Robin Williams played a boy who ages four times faster than normal. As his high school valedictorian, he delivers the commencement speech at graduation, telling his classmates to enjoy their lives and to “make your lives spectacular. “In the end none of us has very long on this Earth,” he said in the short speech, which you can watch below.Read full article >>
Teachers in St. Mary’s County plan to stop doing the “extras” and will focus only on instruction as part of a protest over pay, union officials said Monday.
When classes begin next week, the majority of the teachers in the school district plan to participate in a “back to basics” job action that includes refusing to give homework, work overtime, volunteer for extracurricular activities and contact parents after school hours.Read full article >>
She began her career in a school cafeteria, as a lunch lady. In three weeks, she will take over as head of the nation’s largest labor union, representing 3 million educators.
Lily Eskelsen García, 59, a telegenic, guitar-slinging firebrand, has made her unlikely rise to the top of the National Education Association as the union faces the most daunting political challenges in its 157-year history. She is already fighting back with blunt talk, urging teachers nationwide to revolt against “stupid” education reforms and telling politicians to leave teaching to the professionals.Read full article >>
In March 2013, Atlanta Schools superintendent Beverly Hall and 34 other educators and administrators were charged in a 65-count indictment on racketeering charges in what prosecutors say was a conspiracy to cheat on high-stakes standardized tests. Those 35 were just a fraction of the more than 175 principals and teachers found by state investigators in 2011 to have cheated to make it seem as if students were doing better on tests than they actually performed because the scores affected the adults’ jobs.Read full article >>
Thousands of students will be using new laptops and tablets soon with a major technology initiative underway in the Montgomery school system.
The school board recently gave the go-ahead for the purchase of 40,000 laptops and tablets as the first stage of an effort slated to bring 100,000 devices into Montgomery’s public schools by 2017-2018.Read full article >>
Last month I published a defense of race-based affirmative action for African-American students in college admissions by Richard Rothstein, research associate at the Economic Policy Institute, a non-profit created in 1986 to broaden the discussion about economic policy to include the interests of low- and middle-income workers. Here is a new piece by Rothstein, expanding his discussion. Rothstein is senior fellow of the Chief Justice Earl Warren Institute on Law and Social Policy at the University of California (Berkeley) School of Law, and he is the author of books including “Grading Education: Getting Accountability Right, and “Class and Schools: Using Social, Economic and Educational Reform to Close the Black-White Achievement Gap.” He was also a national education writer for The New York Times. This appeared on the EPI blog.Read full article >>
The next outpost of one of the country’s best-known high-tech charter school chains will be on a wooded hilltop across the street from an aging public housing development in Anacostia.
School officials recently announced plans for Rocketship’s first D.C. school: A 54,000-square-foot, two-story building with a glass entrance, outdoor terrace, multiple play areas and nature trails. It is scheduled to open in the 2015-2016 school year.Read full article >>
“Great by Choice,” a book that examines why some companies thrive during chaotic times while others do not, has become a staple for business leaders across the country as they look for ways to boost profits.Read full article >>
Throughout the first Obama administration and well into the second, many teachers and principals said they could not get a word in edgewise to Education Secretary Arne Duncan and his advisers, who plowed ahead with education reforms that many educators said blamed teachers for things that weren’t their fault and set up standardized test-based “accountability” systems that were unfair. If Duncan was listening to anyone, it appeared to many educators that it was Bill Gates, who was pumping many millions into the reforms Duncan was promoting. Tensions between Duncan and many teachers were so high that in May 2011, he wrote an open letter during Teacher Appreciation Week in which he felt compelled to declare his respect for teachers:Read full article >>
See old friends from class. Talk to some former teachers. Maybe even pick up a free backpack.
Those were some of the things on Paige Blake’s agenda as she spent a couple of hours with her dad, Randolph, at the Prince George’s County Back to School Fair on Saturday at the Showplace Arena.Read full article >>
Keoni Wright is the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit organized by Campbell Brown’s education advocacy group that is seeking to overturn New York laws that provide tenure and other job protections to K-12 teachers. Brown has appeared on a number of television shows explaining her new endeavor, which will involve filing lawsuits in other states, as well, in an attempt to have national impact on tenure laws. (Here’s a write-up about her appearance on “The Colbert Report,” and here’s a fact-check of what she said on the show).Read full article >>
Here’s an interesting case of unintended consequences in education reform — in this case, grading policy at an Ivy League school.
A decade ago the faculty at Princeton University adopted a grading policy that was intended to distinguish between good and great work but that wound up restricting the number of top grades professors handed out. The policy recommended that each department award no more than 35 percent of grades in the “A” range, resulting in strange grading curves that rob students of A’s they rightly deserve. Last October, new Princeton President Christopher Ludwig Eisgruber formed a committee to review the policy, noting that there had been some unfortunate unintended consequences of the policy (and even “poor behavior” by some professors). The committee’s report was just released (see below) and it exposes an unfair system. The key recommendation:Read full article >>
Arlington County's high school football players will have new helmets this year, purchased to mitigate the risk of head injuries and concussions.
Officials announced the new helmets in a letter to parents this week, and said they are part of a “comprehensive concussion management plan” the district has adopted.Read full article >>
A former Prince George’s County teacher won a $350,000 jury award after accusing the school system of discriminating against him because he is white.
Jon Everhart alleged in his lawsuit against the Prince George’s County school board that a black principal forced him out of his job because of his race.Read full article >>