If you haven’t seen the new learning environments yet, they’re coming.
The catch word for the digital education revolution is that this time the change on schools is “disruptive.”
There’s no trying to hide and ride it out. Digital capabilities are changing how students learn. Teachers have to change with it.
And new construction — like the remodeling of Liberty’s EPiC elementary school at 650 Conistor St. — is trying to predict what is, in many ways, unpredictable.
As our ubiquitously connected lives grow more interactive and ability to use the “adjunct intelligence” of the internet becomes more important, living in the down-net exurbs will become less popular. When house shopping broadband availability, proximity to a world class trauma unit, and a variety of art and entertainment venues will be almost as important as good schools, and since good schools can now be attended remotely I don’t know if I agree with Emily at Wonkblog’s conclusion that it’s education that’s the draw for educated people. Instead perhaps it’s the speed, and communal availability of network that’s the draw.
As I mentioned last week, college graduates are increasingly sorting themselves into high-cost, high-amenity cities such as Washington, New York, Boston and San Francisco, a phenomenon that threatens to segregate us across the country by education. This clustering of the well-educated — who are drawn to cities with a high quality of life and good jobs, further pushing up the cost of rent there — isn’t limited to the United States, though.
Ugne Saltenyte, an analyst at the market research firm Euromonitor, recently calculated that 24 percent of the world’s population over 15 years of age and with the equivalent of a two-year degree or more is concentrated in the world’s 100 largest cities. These same 100 cities — Saltenyte is counting full metropolitan areas here — are home to just 11 percent of the world’s total population.
In these cities, residents with higher education account for 21 percent of the population over 15, a number that’s increased from 18 percent as recently as 2005. This suggests that these cities may be both investing more heavily in education and luring educated workers from elsewhere.
Writing for The New Yorker, Rachel Aviv profiles some of the teachers and principals caught up in Atlanta’s standardized cheating scandal. Focusing on Parks Middle School, which is located in a “rough” section of the city, her article portrays a school community that was, inch-by-inch, improving, but not improving fast enough to earn adequate performance test scores.
Not wanting to demoralize their already struggling and academically insecure students, some of the staff chose to doctor the students’ test papers, giving them just enough of an edge to pass the tests mandated by No Child Left Behind and the state Board of Education.
After a few months, Christopher Waller, a Methodist pastor who had worked in public schools for nine years, became the new leader of Parks. Waller was burly and freckled, and, at thirty-one, he was the youngest principal in the district. After a week of introductory meetings, he saw that the district prioritized testing results more than any other place he’d ever worked did. “All decisions have to be made by data—you have to be baptized in it,” he told me. “I lived it, slept it, ate it.”
He held a meeting with the faculty and explained that teachers needed to use data to drive every aspect of instruction. [Math teacher Damany] Lewis raised his hand and said, “I need to be excused from this meeting.” He left the room. Another administrator followed him into the hallway and tried to appease him, but he told her, “You all come in here trying to change every goddam thing we’ve been doing for years. We’ve been making step-by-step progress, and it’s working.”
The next day, Lewis said that Waller asked him to come to his office. “I hear you’re the man around here,” he told Lewis. At that point, Lewis was the football, soccer, and softball coach, the athletic director, and the founder of the chess club. As they talked, Lewis found himself impressed by Waller’s intellect and social awareness. When Waller asked him what changes he should make, Lewis told him to bide his time. “It’s like if you get a new stepmom in the house,” he said. “If she immediately comes in and changes everything, she’ll be hated forever.”
Every fall, the district held a convocation ceremony, which was usually in the Georgia Dome, where the Atlanta Falcons play. Schools that met their performance targets were seated on the field, while schools that fell short were relegated to the bleachers. Teachers spoke nervously all year about whether they would “make the floor.” At Waller’s first convocation, in 2005, he was humiliated by his seat in the bleachers. “It’s almost like having leprosy in the Bible,” he told me. “No one wants to associate with failure.”
Yet another charter school chain under investigation.
The Ohio State Board of Education has ordered an investigation into 19 charter schools in the Horizons Science network after allegations surfaced of severe misconduct among school officials at one of the schools in Dayton, according to The Columbus Dispatch.
Four former teachers at the Horizon Science Academy Dayton High School leveled hefty accusations against their ex-employer at the state education board’s monthly meeting Tuesday. Among the allegations they made are:
The school broke standardized-testing protocol;
School administrators suspended two students for sexual misconduct on campus, but lied to the students’ parents about the reason for their suspension;
Officials didn’t punish Turkish students or teachers for bad behavior, even when a Turkish teacher referred to African-American students by racial slurs. The schools, which have a math and science focus, were founded and are managed by Turkish scientists.
The Columbus Dispatch article details other accusations and says this is not the only investigation Horizon Schools has been connected to recently:
Nothing like the “free market” to bring out the best in educational choices.
After a Canadian high school student filed a human rights complaint against her school district, saying that her rights as a nonbeliever were violated by being required to attend a course on sexual purity taught by a conservative Christian group, school officials agreed to reconsider the curriculum. The anti-abortion group that taught that abstinence education course, Pregnancy Care Centre, won’t be invited back next year.
Emily Dawson and her mother, Kathy, lodged a formal complaint with the Alberta Human Rights Commission after Emily was required to attend a two-day abstinence class in order to graduate. The complaint alleges that the Pregnancy Care Centre’s course used scare tactics, like misleading information about STDs and negative stereotypes about single parent homes, to dissuade students from having sex. The Dawsons identify as agnostics and were offended that they had no option to opt out of a course taught by a conservative religious organization with an explicit agenda.
Now, thanks to the public backlash sparked by their allegations, Emily’s school district is looking for new speakers to cover topics related to sex ed.
As usual the Far right backlash against common core is fed by populist reactionary fear mired in fundamentalist ignorance. This means the usual anti-science theocrats who not only want to rewrite science classes according to the bible, but also rewrite history based on their narrow theocratic view of how things ought to be in this country are all very much against the standards. Lying about everything is the norm with them, and twisting everything is the point and purpose of the exercise, if one lie gets debunked another takes its place.
So the usual suspects from Phylis Schafly to Wall builders are trying to paint this as a Federal move, and have already branded Common Core as “Obamacore” and anti-states rights even though it was created by state bodies, not Federal, and Common Core does not come from President Obama. Truth doesn’t matter to them however because lying for Jesus is the game, and any change in the U.S. is what they blame.
The video at the link is typical - watch as the “concerned mom” ignorantly paints common core as everything it is not. Common core recognizes that children attack problems individually and through different mental tools and the program works with those abilities to teach children different methods of solving problems and the concepts behind the solutions. CC allows children to pick their own tools and the methods that work best for them. Behind her animus is someone who wants kids memorizing tables and events instead of being able to critically think their way to an answer for future problems, someone who fears that the schools will teach her kids to actually think for themselves.
A recent Gallup poll showed that 61 percent of parents know little or nothing about the Common Core. But the 19 percent who view the standards “very negatively,” particularly in red states, are the parents driving the debate and making Common Core a wedge issue in the upcoming election. Prominent Tea Party members have denounced “Obamacore” as the epitome of a federal takeover. Several Republican governors in the past few months—Nikki Haley in South Carolina, Mike Pence in Indiana, Mary Fallin in Oklahoma, and Bobby Jindal in Louisiana, who once supported the standards—have repealed Common Core in their states as a result, many say, of pressure from small groups of local activists.
Austin’s #CanISee conference —as in, “Can I see what my children are learning?”— is a who’s-who of the far-right movement that some peg as fringe, but nevertheless gets results. They’re the voters who vow to use Common Core as a litmus test come November. They’re also the activists who Core supporters say are fueling myths and misconceptions about the standards.
For the mostly female, mostly older, all-white crowd, Common Core is more than an attack on states’ rights; it’s an affront to Christian, conservative values. These mothers and grandmothers see a campaign against Common Core as an extension of protecting the nuclear family. Eagle Forum, anti-feminist activist Phyllis Schlafly’s national organization, is a sponsor of the conference. In the foyer outside, booths proffer fliers about What You Need to Know About Marriage and How to Speak Up for Life.
More: Meet America’s Most Hardcore Anti-Common Core Moms - NBC News.com
Cross posted at Noblesse Oblige
The FBI and two other federal agencies conducted raids in Illinois and two other states at charter schools run by Des Plaines-based Concept Schools, FBI officials said Tuesday.
Search warrants were executed at 19 Concept schools in connection with an “ongoing white-collar crime matter,” said Vicki Anderson, a special agent in the Cleveland FBI office that’s leading the probe.
The U.S. Department of Education and the Federal Communications Commission also were involved in the June 4 raids, but officials said the warrants remain under seal, and they wouldn’t give any details about the investigation.
The raids targeted Concept schools in Illinois — where Concept has three schools in Chicago and one in Peoria — as well as in Indiana and Ohio.
Calif. court rules teacher tenure creates unequal conditions
A Los Angeles Superior Court judge ruled Tuesday that tenure, seniority and other job protections for teachers have created unequal conditions in public schools and deprive poor children of the best teachers.
In a case that could have national implications for the future of teacher tenure, Judge Rolf Treu sided with a Silicon Valley mogul against some of the most powerful labor unions in the country.
In a 16-page ruling, in the case of Vergara v. California, Treu struck down three state laws as unconstitutional. The laws grant tenure to teachers after two years, require layoffs by seniority, and call for a complex and lengthy process before a teacher can be fired.
This will take years to resolve!
On Monday, President Obama took executive action that will allow millions more people to cap their student loan payments at 10 percent of their annual incomes - an option that most, but not all, student borrowers have had since 2010.
He also urged Congress to approve a bill that Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D) of Massachusetts has sponsored, and that the Senate plans to take up this week, which would allow some 25 million borrowers to refinance student loans at lower rates. And he announced a number of other measures around communication and education for student borrowers, to allow them to make more informed decisions and take advantage of the options open to them.
“At a time when college has never been more important, it’s also never been more expensive,” Mr. Obama said in his weekly address on Saturday, in which he announced the executive actions he planned to take without congressional sign-off. He defined the choice before Congress as “protect young people from crushing debt, or protect tax breaks for millionaires.”