My Objections to the Common Core State Standards (1.0) : Stager-to-Go

Pearson stands to profit handsomely. They are the largest education publisher in the USA. They also lead in producing and scoring standardized tests. The controversial PARCC test that recently made headlines when they spied on kids’ social media accounts and got government goons to enforce their testing regime. Add test-prep curriculum, worksheets, professional development, and their recent forays into teacher and administrator credentialing, and you quickly see how Pearson controls the entire education ecosystem

via My Objections to the Common Core State Standards (1.0) : Stager-to-Go.


Originally posted on Outrage on the Page:

It is getting harder and harder to stand up in front of 75 student teachers each August and welcome them into the wonderful profession that has been my life for 37 years. I wanted to be a teacher since 4th grade, when I had Mrs. Debbie Smith. She used an integrated arts, thematic approach, although of course I did not know that at age 9. All I knew is that the year began with self-portraits that hung all year on the back wall; we learned about the history and geography and agriculture of where we lived–we learned that through choral reading of poetry and from children’s books. We took countless field trips and each time returned to the classroom and used a different art medium; we did chalk drawings, used finger paint, made puppets from papier mache and then did puppet shows. Each week we explored different parts of the…

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Will you stink up the privatization garden party with me?

Originally posted on Cloaking Inequity:

The fix is in folks. We need a war against the ultra wealthy who believe they have a right control everything our government does in education and elsewhere.

At the Cambridge Forum lecture that I gave in Harvard Square at the First Parish (Unitarian Universalist) on March 8, 2015 I discussed the role of wealthy in education reform and the privatization of education (See the post Julian Vasquez Heilig @CamForum to Discuss The Health of Democracy and Privatizing Education). The Director of the Cambridge Forum let me know that the radio program which will be syndicated on NPR across the nation will go to stations via satellite on April 17. Here in Sacramento, KQED airs the Cambridge Forum at 6:30 p.m. on Sundays. Thus it is likely the lecture will air either Sunday April 19 or the next Sunday.

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How Memory, Focus and Good Teaching Can Work Together to Help Kids Learn | MindShift

Everyone has a pet theory on how to improve public education: better professional development for teachers, more money, better curriculum, testing for accountability, teacher incentives, technology, streamlined bureaucracy. Policymakers have been trying these solutions for years with mixed results. But those who study the brain have their own ideas for improving how kids learn: focus on teaching kids how to learn.

via How Memory, Focus and Good Teaching Can Work Together to Help Kids Learn | MindShift.

Some Details on the Senate-proposed ESEA Reauthorization

Originally posted on deutsch29:

On April 7, 2015, the Senate education committee announced the following as part of a press release:

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 7 – Senate education committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-Wash.) today announced a bipartisan agreement on fixing “No Child Left Behind.” They scheduled committee action on their agreement and any amendments to begin at 10 a.m. Tuesday, April 14.

The result of the Lamar-Murray collaboration on the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) reauthorization (the latest version of which is renamed No Child Left Behind) is this 600-page document entitled, The Every Child Achieves Act of 2015.

I read the first 136 pages of the act, which I refer to below as the Alexander-Murray reauthorization.

I am aware that when the document goes before the Senate education committee, it could well be amended. But for now, in this post, I offer my observations on key…

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Maker Space Essentials – Squishy Circuits

Originally posted on Engage Their Minds :

The next adventure for our after-school Maker Club will be circuits. I’ve already mentioned Little Bits, a great product for creating all kinds of circuits using interchangeable magnetic parts.  Those will be at one of our stations.  Another station will include “Squishy Circuits.”

Squishy Circuits image courtesy of Lenore Edman Squishy Circuits image courtesy of Lenore Edman

Squishy Circuits are made using conductive dough.  You can find the recipe for the dough, as well as for insulating dough here. A Squishy Circuits kit, which includes the recipes and “hardware” is available for $25 here. You can probably find the items somewhere else, but I felt like this was a pretty good price that saved me the time of hunting for individual parts.

If you scroll to the bottom of the Squishy Circuits purchasing page, you can see two videos that show this product in action. As you will learn, this is a great way…

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Why Students Don’t Always Transfer What They Understand

As a follow up on my series on reading, most recently yesterday’s post on reading comprehension with respect to the gradual release of responsibility model, let’s take a look at transfer.

What is transfer, and what does it demand? Let’s go back to two seminal papers from 1983 (Paris, Lipson & Wixon) and Palinscar & Brown (1983) on Reciprocal Teaching that foreshadow the problem of transfer of individual lessons in strategy:

via Why Students Don’t Always Transfer What They Understand.

North Carolina: Legislators Gone Wild , Seeking to Kill Research

Originally posted on Diane Ravitch's blog:

In North Carolina, a state senator has filed a bill requiring all professors to carry a heavy course load. It seems there’s no institution free of the heavy hand of government, when legislators grab the reins of power.

University spokesmen said such a provision would kill research and cause a flight of top talent from research universities.

Lindsay Wagner writes for NC Policy Watch:

“Senator Tom McInnis (R-Richmond) filed a bill last week that would require all UNC professors to teach no fewer than four courses a semester. It’s a move that, McInnis says, is an effort to make sure classes are not taught primarily by student assistants — but some are concerned it could hamper research and development at the state’s prestigious institutions of higher education….

University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill Professor Stephen Leonard, who teaches political science and is chair of the UNC system-wide Faculty Assembly, said the…

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Some Huge Flaws in Common Core Testing

Originally posted on Diane Ravitch's blog:

Testing has begun in some states and will continue through April on the Common Core standards. Students in grades 3-8 and 11 will take either the PARCC or the SBA tests. The tests cover a full year of instruction aligned with the standards. But students have not had a full year of instruction in March! There are still another 3-4 months of schooling.

Typically, the testing will consume anywhere from eight to eleven hours. Most students will be tested longer than it takes to sit for the state bar exam. These are not the tests that we (the adults) took when we were in school. For most of us, our teachers tested us, sometimes weekly, sometimes at the end of the semester, but never for more than 45 or 50 minutes.

States can expect a big decline in proficiency rates. This may be due to the fact that the tests…

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EITC: No Credit to PA

Originally posted on Yinzercation:

While our legislators are busy looking under their sofa cushions for spare change to fund the state budget, they might want to consider the $75 million that just walked out the front door. That’s how much the Education Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) program costs us taxpayers every year.

The misnamed EITC program has nothing to do with educational improvement and everything to do with funneling what would have been state budget dollars into private schools, while increasing profits for corporations. Here’s how it works: corporations can get an EITC tax credit by contributing to a Scholarship Organization, which channels the money to private schools. The companies receive up to 90% of their contributions as a tax credit, worth up to $300,000 per year, and can get a federal tax write-off as well, making the program highly attractive.

Not only do corporations get a tax write-off, but they also receive good…

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