Education News from Washington Post
A few days ago I published a powerful post by award-winning Principal Carol Burris which revealed that the New York State Department of Education used seriously flawed data in its official reports about college enrollment. This, she wrote, raises questions about how accurate some of the claims about college readiness of U.S. high school graduates really are. If you haven’t read her piece, you can find it here. The post sparked the following reaction from Anthony Cody, Cody taught in high-poverty schools in Oakland, Calif., for 24 years, 18 of them as a middle school science teacher. He is the treasurer and a founding member of the nonprofit Network for Public Education. For years Cody blogged at Education Week but now maintains an independent Website called Living in Dialogue. He is the author of “The Educator and the Oligarch: A Teacher Challenges Bill Gates,” in which he explores the foundation’s influence on education issues and whether that has been good or bad for the public school system. Cody gave me permission to publish this piece, which appeared on his blog.Read full article >>
CHARLOTTESVILLE — Student leaders at the University of Virginia said they are seeking to foster cultural and institutional changes to combat sexual assault at the state’s flagship campus after allegations of a gang rape at a fraternity surfaced last week.Read full article >>
Towson University has recruited a herd of new groundskeepers to put the bite on a pesky weed problem on the suburban campus.
Hauled in from a Harford County farm, 18 goats began munching Sunday on a patch of English ivy covering the forest floor in the school’s Glen Arboretum. They didn’t stop there, though, grazing on almost everything in reach, including fallen leaves, dead vines and even tree bark.Read full article >>
The Educational Testing Service has determined that some students in Asia cheated on the SAT given in October, and it is opening a new probe into whether some cheated on the November college admissions exam. Meanwhile, concerns continue to rise about plans being made for cheating on the SAT being given in Asia next month.Read full article >>
The Obama administration decided Monday to restore a waiver from the federal No Child Left Behind law to Oklahoma, three months after it had pulled the waiver because Oklahoma had dumped the Common Core State Standards and reverted to its old K-12 reading and math standards.Read full article >>
As I wrote in my most recent column, I am gathering information from D.C. school admission officials and the city’s public charter school leaders best able to respond to Erich Martel’s concerns about the number of white students in some schools.Read full article >>
Bill Cosby is sometimes referred to as Dr. Cosby because he has a doctorate in education from the University of Massachusetts of Amherst. He earned the degree in the mid 1970s — with a thesis titled “An Integration of the Visual Media Via Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids (1972) into the Elementary School Curriculum as a Teaching Aid and Vehicle to Achieve Increased Learning” — but how he got the degree has been controversial ever since.Read full article >>
A group of students from an Arlington Career Center video class won first prize in a Virginia School Board Association contest for a short video they produced about the district.
The students were asked to create a video with the theme “Virginia, we are one!” They were recognized at the VSBA’s conference last week in Williamsburg. Their entry beat out approximately 60 other videos produced by students across the state.Read full article >>
Charter schools, school construction and school safety are among more than a dozen topics that are a part of the legislative agenda for the Prince George’s County Board of Education that was recently approved.Read full article >>
Here’s a new twist on test prep: Get rid of midterms and finals (tests presumably made by teachers). Say that you are doing it to find more “instructional time.” Then use that “instructional time” to “instruct” students in how to take a new Common Core standardized test.Read full article >>
There’s not much else to say about this except to watch this video. You will either find it amusing or repulsive, or, possibly, both. Your kids or students will find it hilarious.Read full article >>
How many times have you heard that an amazing teacher has been promoted to be an administrator and wondered if that was the best use of that educator’s time? Here’s a way around this, from Lauren Hill, a National Board Certified Teacher, who teaches English at Western Hills High School in Frankfort, Kentucky, and serves as teacherpreneur for the Kentucky Network to Transform Teaching to help create teacher leadership opportunities for Kentucky teachers and to support teachers as they pursue National Board Certification. She is also a Virtual Community Organizer, trainer, and blogger for theCenter for Teaching Quality.Read full article >>
When Ketcham Elementary School was selected to roll out a schoolwide computer-based learning initiative, Principal Maisha Riddlesprigger was skeptical about “putting kids in front of computers.”
Less than two years later, the effort has brought her school a kind of celebrity status. Superintendents and state lawmakers from across the country have begun stopping by this well-wired school in a poor pocket of Southeast Washington — where nearly a third of the students are homeless — to see how they are learning.Read full article >>
Erich Martel, a great Advanced Placement history teacher at Wilson High School, was involuntarily transferred to another school and then forced to retire because, I think, he refused to stop investigating alleged D.C. school mismanagement, including his revelation that high schools were graduating students who didn’t meet all of the requirements.Read full article >>
In the last year or two educators have started to publicly speak up about the negative consequences of standardized test-based school reform and the privatization of public education. Troy LaRaviere is one of them. He is the principal of Chicago’s Blaine Elementary School and a leader of the Administrators Alliance for Proven Policy and Legislation in Education. The following is part of an interview that LaRaviere did with freelance journalist and public education advocate Jennifer Berkshire, who worked for six years editing a newspaper for the American Federation of Teachers in Massachusetts and who authors the EduShyster blog, where the entire Q * A originally appeared. LaRaviere can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and tweets @troylaraviere.Read full article >>
The national media spotlight has been on Ferguson, Missouri, since August, when a white policeman killed an unarmed black teenager named Michael Brown, and the area is now anticipating a grand jury’s decision on whether to indict the officer. How Ferguson really got to this point (it’s not the way conventional wisdom holds) is the subject of this post. IT was written by Richard Rothstein, a 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. He is also 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 a national education writer for The New York Times as well. This appeared on the EPI blog.
By Richard Rothstein
I’ve spent several years studying the evolution of residential segregation nationwide, motivated in part by convictions that the black-white achievement gap cannot be closed while low-income black children are isolated in segregated schools, that schools cannot be integrated unless neighborhoods are integrated, and that neighborhoods cannot be integrated unless we remedy the public policies that have created and support neighborhood segregation.
When Ferguson, Missouri, erupted in August, I suspected that federal, state and local policy had purposefully segregated St. Louis County, because this had occurred in so many other metropolises. After looking into the history of Ferguson, St. Louis, and the city’s other suburbs, I confirmed these were no different. In The Making of Ferguson: Public Policies at the Root of its Troubles , the Economic Policy Institute recently published a report documenting the basis for this conclusion, and The American Prospect has published a summary.
Since a Ferguson policeman shot and killed an unarmed black teenager, we’ve paid considerable attention to that town. If we’ve not been looking closely at our evolving demographic patterns, we were surprised to see ghetto conditions we had come to associate with inner cities now duplicated in almost every respect in a formerly white suburban community: racially segregated neighborhoods with high poverty and unemployment, poor student achievement in overwhelmingly black schools, oppressive policing, abandoned homes, and community powerlessness.
Media accounts of how Ferguson became Ferguson have typically explained that when African Americans moved to this suburb (and others like it), “white flight” followed, abandoning the town to African Americans who were trying to escape poor schools in the city. The conventional explanation adds that African Americans moved to a few places like Ferguson, not the suburbs generally, because prejudiced realtors steered black homebuyers away from other white suburbs. And in any event, those other suburbs were able to preserve their middle- class environments by enacting zoning rules that required only expensive single family homes.
No doubt, private prejudice and suburbanites’ desire for homogenous middle-class environments contributed to segregation in St. Louis and other metropolitan areas. But these explanations are too partial, and too conveniently excuse public policy from responsibility. A more powerful cause of metropolitan segregation in St. Louis and nationwide has been the explicit intents of federal, state, and local governments to create racially segregated metropolises.
Many of these explicitly segregationist governmental actions ended in the late 20th century but continue to determine today’s racial segregation patterns; ongoing segregation is not the unintended by-product of race-neutral policies. In St. Louis these actions included zoning rules that classified white neighborhoods as residential and black neighborhoods as commercial or industrial; segregated public housing projects to replace integrated low-income areas; federal subsidies for suburban development conditioned on African American exclusion; federal and local requirements for and enforcement of property deeds and neighborhood agreements that prohibited re-sale of white-owned property to or occupancy by African Americans; tax favoritism for private institutions that enforced segregation; municipal boundary lines designed to separate black neighborhoods from white ones and to deny necessary services to the former; real estate, insurance, and banking regulators who tolerated and sometimes required racial segregation; and urban renewal plans whose purpose was to shift black populations from central cities like St. Louis to inner-ring suburbs like Ferguson.
Governmental actions in support of a segregated labor market supplemented these racial housing policies and prevented most African Americans from acquiring the economic strength to move to middle class communities, even if they had been permitted to do so.
White flight certainly existed, and racial prejudice was certainly behind it, but not racial prejudice alone. Government turned black neighborhoods into overcrowded slums and then white families came to associate African Americans with slum characteristics. White homeowners then fled when African Americans moved nearby, fearing their new neighbors would bring slum conditions with them.
That government, not mere private prejudice, was responsible for segregating greater St. Louis was once conventional informed opinion. A federal appeals court declared 40 years ago that “segregated housing in the St. Louis metropolitan area was … in large measure the result of deliberate racial discrimination in the housing market by the real estate industry and by agencies of the federal, state, and local governments.” Similar observations accurately describe every other large metropolitan area. This history, however, has now largely been forgotten.
When we blame private prejudice and snobbishness for contemporary segregation, we not only whitewash our own history but avoid considering whether new policies might instead promote an integrated community. The federal government’s response to the Ferguson “Troubles” has been to treat the town as an isolated embarrassment, not a reflection of the nation in which it is embedded. The Department of Justice is investigating the killing of teenager Michael Brown and the practices of the Ferguson police department, but aside from the president’s concern that perhaps we have militarized all police forces too much, no broader inferences from the August events are being drawn.
The conditions that created Ferguson cannot be addressed without remedying a century of public policy that segregated our metropolitan landscape. Remedies are unlikely if we fail to recognize these policies and how their effects have endured.Read full article >>
Thousands of parents came to the D.C. Armory on Saturday to get a jump on their school search at the first city-wide public schools fair.
The formerly all-charter event expanded this year to include every traditional school so that parents pushing strollers or shopping for high schools for their teens could peruse tables sorted by grade and alphabetical order, not by school sector.Read full article >>
University of Virginia President Teresa A. Sullivan issued this statement Saturday in response to Rolling Stone magazine’s account of an alleged 2012 gang rape in a Charlottesville fraternity house:
Dear members of the University Community,Read full article >>
Montgomery County’s school board voted unanimously this past week to boost the district’s school construction budget by $223.3 million amid continuing enrollment growth.
The request for more funds, which requires county and state action, largely reflects recommendations Superintendent Joshua P. Starr outlined in October.Read full article >>
Faced with mounting pressure from students, faculty and alumni, University of Virginia President Teresa Sullivan suspended all campus fraternities Saturday, an action prompted by a searing magazine account of an alleged 2012 gang rape inside a fraternity house at the school.Read full article >>