7/10/2013 – Arne Duncan Rebrands “No Excuse”

7/10/2013 – Arne Duncan Rebrands “No Excuse”

Jeff Bryant No Comment
EON Newsletters
July 11, 2013
THIS WEEK:Video: Why Class Size Matters … Effects Of Poverty On Learning … Do Standardized Tests Promote Incarceration? … More Money to Help Low-Income, ESL Students … Should Teachers Stop Caring? … Alternative To Race-Based Affirmative Action

TOP STORY

A “No Excuse” Approach To Education Everyone Can Support

By Jeff Bryant

“‘No excuse’ has been a mantra from people who present themselves as advocates for “reforming” America’s public schools … Last week, the term ‘no excuse’ was forever rebranded by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. His use of the term, in the most honest way possible, was made necessary when faced with the blatant truth of what the nation is doing to its system of public education. And now we have a use for “no excuse” that everyone who cares about education can support.”
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NEWS AND VIEWS

Steve Zimmer (LAUSD) on Why Class Size Matters

Youtube

In a must-see video, “Steve Zimmer, Board Member of the Los Angeles Unified School District and a former teacher, asks why we tolerate or dismiss crowded public school classrooms when charters and private schools use small class sizes as a selling point?”
Watch now …

Students in Poverty Show Lower Planning Skills, Study Finds

Education Week

A new study finds, “Students in poverty may also be less able to plan and marshal the resources they have efficiently, making it harder for them to close achievement gaps with their wealthier peers … Children’s planning skills were evaluated using a common puzzle game … The researchers found that students’ ability to perform the planning puzzle in 3rd grade predicted their mathematics achievement and, to a lesser extent, their reading achievement in 5th grade … Moreover, the researchers found the greater the level of poverty students experienced in their early childhood, the worse they performed on the planning puzzle.”
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Students Who Take Tougher Graduation Exams Are More Likely To Wind Up In Jail

Business Insider

A new study finds, “High-stakes graduation testing actually leads to a higher incarceration rate … These standards-based tests account for a 12.5% rise in incarceration rates … The report also found a decline in graduation rates for states that have introduced standards-based testing. According to the authors, the 1% decline is consistent throughout most studies of exit exams.”
Read more …

New California School Funding Formula Gives More Money To Help Low-Income, ESL Students

The Huffington Post

“The way California funds its schools is being completely revamped … Gov. Jerry Brown signed several new bills into law that will allocate more money to help disadvantaged students and give districts more control over how their money is distributed … The new bills give every school district money based on its number of students and then additional funding based on its number of low-income students and ESL students. Further, schools where more than 55 percent of pupils are ESL or low-income qualify for additional funds … ‘Today, we did something more creative: We pulled back and increased the discretion and the accountability of the local authorities, and that’s all to the good,’ the governor said.”
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Taking the Caring Out of Teaching

In These Times

Sarah Jaffe writes, “The emotional labor component of many jobs, including teaching, has been systemically undervalued even as those jobs were shaped by the expectation that those who did them would be natural carers. Their purported inherent ability to care was a convenient ideological excuse to seek out women, who would work for less money, for teaching jobs … The care women were expected to provide was never treated as a skill that deserved decent pay; instead, it was (wrongly) seen as an inherent characteristic. Yet in the push to strip down teaching to its testable components, the very traits that were once seen as integral to the profession are now being cut out … With the focus remaining on finding more and more ways to track, test, and punish individual teachers, the human parts of their job get shoved to the back burner, and they – and their students – suffer.”
Read more …

CU-Boulder’s Alternative To Race-based Affirmative Action Yielding More Diversity

Hechinger Report

“Proponents of race-based affirmative action point to research showing that switching to class-based admissions policies can hurt racial diversity … A policy adopted at University of Colorado Boulder …. devised a system that looked at students’ experiences of disadvantage, such as their parent’s income and education level, and also looked at whether they had achieved beyond what was expected of students like them … The class-based plan yielded a group of freshman that was more economically diverse – with a larger proportion of poor students – but also slightly more racially diverse.”
Read more …

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