Monthly Archives: March 2016

When State Ed Leaders Go Rogue: Dangerous Conspiracy Theories of NY’s Betty Rosa

New Regents Chancellor Betty Rosa, queen of the opt-out movement in New York State and heroine to teacher union leaders, is reaping widespread criticism for counseling parents to refuse state standardized tests for their children. Even  Long Island’s Newsday dings her unprofessional approach towards accountability, noting that Rosa “threw gas on the fire rather than quelling it” when she said that if… Read more →

Why is Massachusetts top dog in education? Grit and relentless self reflection

The Seattle Times’ Education Lab just published the second of a two-part series that should be a wake-up call to all the self-congratulatory states and school districts who think they are doing all they can to prepare students for success. The series, artfully authored by reporter Claudia Rowe, opened with two provocative questions: Massachusetts is a lot like us, so… Read more →

Massachusetts is a lot like us, so why are its schools so much better?

Seattle Times, Education Lab, 3/19/16

For more than a decade, fourth-graders in Massachusetts have been, on average, the most literate children in the country. They also compute at higher levels. The same is true for eighth-graders. And for overall K-12 achievement. Yet the predominant sentiment in school hallways and policy offices around the state is discontent. This stands in striking contrast to Washington, where students’ scores have hovered at middle-of-the-road status for years, and schools chief Randy Dorn recently trumpeted an uptick in graduation rates, though they lag behind the national average by five points.

IL Officials Hoping Second PARCC Year Smoother than First

Springfield News Gazette, 3/21/16

The second year of PARCC testing is underway, with a shorter, simplified exam that state officials hope means fewer headaches than last year. The digital exam, which is officially called the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for Colleges and Careers, debuted in Illinois last spring. It was designed to better assess students’ critical-thinking and writing skills, aptitudes more in line with Common Core curriculum.

‘Not-As-Good-As-You-Think’ Schools: Overcoming NJ Suburban Resistance to Reality

Remember the Hans Christian Anderson story of  “The Emperor’s New Clothes?”  A vain king hires two swindlers who swear to him that they can sew for him the finest suit of clothes that to wise men will be beautiful but to fools will be invisible. The whole court, fearful of appearing foolish, gush over the ostensibly gorgeous garment. But during… Read more →

Remedial Students Need the Best Teachers to Make Up Lost Ground

Problems with academic rigor in our nation’s public schools are well documented, and too often students enter college seriously unprepared for post-secondary coursework. In a misguided effort to foster self-esteem, our nation’s public schools have instead produced an epidemic of self-delusion that is leaving our colleges with the unenviable task of trying to help millions of students catch up on… Read more →

Study: States Leave Out College Readiness Factors That Matter Most

Education Week, High School & Beyond blog, 3/16/16

As states press hard to ensure that all students graduate from high school ready for college or good jobs, many are hobbled by the very accountability systems they designed to leverage improvement, according to a report released Monday.

The new study, by Achieve, argues that in reporting K-12 performance to the public, states often aren’t including factors that matter the most in college readiness, such as the proportion of students who are completing rigorous high school courses, how well students are accumulating credits toward graduation, and whether they’re earning college credit while in high school. Achieve, which works with states on standards and accountability, has been tracking the 50 states’ college-readiness policies in a series of reports for a decade.

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