Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity


Posted at 6:30 AM ET, 07/28/2010

New analysis blasts Obama’s school turnaround policy -- and tells how to fix it

By Valerie Strauss

The Obama administration’s approach to improving the most troubled schools are nothing more than a toughened version of largely unsuccessful strategies concocted under president George W. Bush and should be replaced with a flexible system that involves parents and communities, according to a new analysis being released today.

The sternly worded analysis is the second punch that the administration has received this week over its education policies. It is landing on the same day that Education Secretary Arne Duncan is addressing the Urban League’s convention in Washington D.C., and a day before President Obama defends his education policies in a major speech to the same gathering.

The report, by a new national coalition of 24 community-based groups, includes a proposal for a new school transformation model that emphasizes community involvement, and a list of more than 2,000 schools across the country targeted for one of the four transformation models now allowed by the administration.

A coalition of civil rights groups released a framework for education reform on Monday which thrashed Obama’s education policies on a number of issues -- including funding equity and charter schools -- and said the government should stop using low-income neighborhoods as laboratories for education experiments.

The analysis of school turnaround strategies, released by a new national coalition of community-based groups called Communities for Excellent Public Schools, criticizes the administration for taking “top-down school improvement efforts” that are part of No Child Left Behind and thinking that they will somehow be successful by “adding teeth.” It says that they ignore a growing body of research about what does work.

These are the school turnaround options for districts that were outlined in Obama’s “Blueprint for Reform,” the administration’s plan for reauthorizing No Child Left Behind (formally called the Elementary and Secondary Education Act) and that are being tested through the School Improvement Grants program (SIG) :

*Turnaround: The school’s principal and all of its teachers are fired. A new principal may rehire up to 50 percent of the former teachers and must then implement Department-outlined strategies to improve student academic and graduation rates.

*Restart: The district must either convert the school to a charter, or close it and reopen it under outside management--a charter operator, charter management organization or education management organization.

*School Closure: Schools may be closed, with students being transferred to “other, higher achieving schools.”

*Transformation: This model requires that the school principal be replaced (if s/he has been at the school longer than two years) and that schools must choose from an department-determined set of strategies. But under the SIG program, school districts with more than nine targeted schools can only use this model for no more than half.

The report, entitled "Our Communities Left Behind: An Analysis of the Administration’s School Turnaround Policies," calls them “bad policy and bad educational strategy” for reasons including:

*They are imposed rather than developed with the community, even though research shows that community engagement is essential to sustainable reform of low-performing schools.
*They focus primarily on structural, rather than educational change.
*They are “one-size-fits” all and do not take into consideration local political, cultural and fiscal considerations.

This analysis includes a list, released for the first time in one document, of 2,136 schools that have been identified as eligible for federal intervention under the School Improvement Grant program. The compilation is the first effort to identify and assess the characteristics of the schools and their students, a demographic analysis compiled by the Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University:

*Nearly 1.5 million students attend these schools.
*Eighty-one percent of student in these schools are students of color.
*Eighty-five percent of the most urgently targeted schools have high concentrations of poverty (defined as more than 50 percent of students eligible for federal free and reduced priced lunch).
*Black students are 7 1/2 times more likely to be in a SIG-eligible school than white students.
*Hispanic students are 4 1/2 times more likely to be in a SIG-eligible school than white students.

“Few of the schools will see significant academic gains as a result of these interventions,” the report says. “And even fewer of these gains will be sustained over a period of years.”

The report includes a proposal for a new approach to school intervention called “Sustainable School Transformation,” which has these central elements:

1) A strong focus on school culture, curriculum and staffing.

This includes:
--Strong leadership
--Staffing structures that facilitate collaboration
--Professional development designed to meet individual needs of the staff
--A research-based, thoughtfully crafted teacher evaluation program, developed in conjunction with parents, students, teachers and administrators
--A well-rounded, culturally relevant and enriched college and career preparatory curriculum
--Intensive literacy support and “reading recovery” programs to ensure a focus on literacy

2) Wrap-around supports for students

This includes:
--Access to guidance counselors at the high school level
--A positive behavioral approach to school discipline
--Access to primary health care services to address basic wellness issues, including emotional/mental health issues

3) Collaboration to ensure local ownership and accountability
This includes:
--A comprehensive assessment of the school’s individual strengths, challenges and impediments to student success that takes a full school year.
--Students, parents and community members must be full partners in all stages,

“Yes, dramatic action is needed. But we have to get it right." the report says.

Let’s hope the Education Department is listening.

-0-

Follow my blog all day, every day by bookmarking washingtonpost.com/answersheet. And for admissions advice, college news and links to campus papers, please check out our Higher Education page at washingtonpost.com/higher-ed Bookmark it!

By Valerie Strauss  | July 28, 2010; 6:30 AM ET
Categories:  Education Secretary Duncan, Equity, No Child Left Behind  | Tags:  civil rights leaders and education, duncan and urban league, education framework, how to turnaround schools, no child left behind, no child left behind and school turnaround models, obama and urban league, report on school turnaround, school transformation models, school turnaround models  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Duncan being too 'modest'
Next: Were some D.C. teachers fired based on flawed calculations?

Comments

The Education Department is listening and they don't care. The decision has been made and they are going to stick to it. They know that they're right and everyone else is either wrong or making excuses for the status quo. In reality they have nothing but hollow rhetoric and threats.

Posted by: stevendphoto | July 28, 2010 8:57 AM | Report abuse

Regarding the wrap-around support, a critical issue comes to mind. A firm yet caring school climate should have an impressive in-school discipline program. Research is quite clear in linking the number of out-of-school supspensions with the risk of dropping out. Sure, there are times when a student needs dealt with in ways other than in-school suspension, including juvenile detention and such, but that is another story.

Several years ago, as a matter of personal interest, I evaluated the requirements for the position of in-school suspension teacher (can have other titles) covering several states and numerous school divisions. While some required a certified teacher, sometimes in any area, some others only required either a college degree, two years of college, and shockingly, several only required a high school dipoloma. Knowing that one prime factor for students on the skids is getting behind (or further behind) in school, this is concerning.

Furthermore, sometimes students are sent to ISS for things such as falling asleep in class without anyone ever asking the kid as to why. This type situation, of course, can fit well into the wrap-around support. Perhaps, the kid is working nights to help support the family, has poor quality sleep due to stress (school couselors can help), is watching TV until the wee hours of the morning, has low blood sugar from skipping breakfast and maybe even dinner prior, who knows unless someone asks. Sometimes kids act out in class because being goofy or tough is more comfortable that appearing stupid. Is there an undiagnosed reading disability? Can the student actually read well enough to keep up in class. Improving reading skills can help resolve discipline problems.

A successful IIS program should have:

1. Administrators who care and ensure that students will receive help with the issues that landed the kid in ISS. The ISS class should be stocked with literature/DVDs on handling anger, stress, time management, respect, manners, etc. Provide kids an opportunity to appologize to teachers when necessary/appropriate. Assure students that they have access to the school counselor(s) and/or district school psycologist (approval) and school nurse.

2. The ISS teacher should be multi-certified (whenever possible) to best assist students in keeping up with their assigned work. Skill in dealing with at-risk kids is essential. Furthermore, the ISS teacher should work closely with teachers to ensure that the students receive their assignments in a timely fashion and have opportunity to have questions addressed.

3. Repeaters to ISS.....figure out why.

Though community support for such an ISS program may initially be weak since an attitude of "send them home" is so longstanding, if the community is informed of the benefit of such a program, such as lower drop-out rate, lower crime rate, higher employment, and overall benefit to the next generation, support can ripen.

Posted by: shadwell1 | July 28, 2010 9:24 AM | Report abuse

This is the first good we've had in a long time. Forget about waiting for Superman. We need realistic and practical school reform, not a repeat of the failed policies of past administrations.

WashPost Ed Board: Are you listening?

Posted by: Nemessis | July 28, 2010 9:34 AM | Report abuse

These are such great ideas. Can you imagine the difference it would make if kids had access to mental health care at school?

These sound like things that would really improve schools. I especially like the individualized professional development. So silly to have paid professionals sitting at meetings that have nothing to do with what they teach.

shadwell1
Good ideas on in-school suspension. I don't think people should be sent to ISS for sleeping. That is not a discipline issue in my mind.

Glad to know someone is on the right track. Maybe there is hope for school reform after all. Maybe the Department of Education is not selling out the poorer kids after all?


Posted by: celestun100 | July 28, 2010 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Notice that they say that Race to the Top ignores a growing body of research about what does work.


Posted by: celestun100 | July 28, 2010 10:10 AM | Report abuse

"The Education Department is listening and they don't care. The decision has been made and they are going to stick to it. They know that they're right and everyone else is either wrong or making excuses for the status quo. In reality they have nothing but hollow rhetoric and threats."

Stevendphoto - I fear you are right. I wonder if there's a way to point out to Obama that he is not acting like a resolute leader; he is acting like a stubborn child.

With all the research and evidence of his current methods stacked against him, he presses on. Hopefully, he will soon access the logical side of his nature. There he will see what a mess he will have caused and how responsible he'll be, with so many expert and well informed people having "told him so" extremely publicly and insistently.

Valerie - Can you contact some of your experts and ask them to consider this approach?

I think the time for desperate measures has arrived.

Posted by: efavorite | July 28, 2010 10:43 AM | Report abuse

@efavorite,

Haven't we been in the "desperate measures" stage in the District since Rhee got here?

Every "next" approach looks better when you are in the throes of the current thrust of reform or change.

I believe the newest proposals will produce at least as much chaos. And it still does not solve the problem of excessive ineffective teachers in some systems and does not do anything to solve the problem of parental inattention.

On net, adopting the new proposed approach will throttle today's change efforts to a stop, cause years of delay, plus mucho dollars for all the academics and think tanks who feed at the ed reform trough.

The education complex likes delay most of all, it seems, while schools deteriorate and kids get prolonged exposures to ineffective teaching, disruptive students, union sparring, and other ills.

Posted by: axolotl | July 28, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Obama made a huge mistake in appointing his arrogant and unqualified basketball buddy, Arne Duncan. Remember, Michelle Rhee was also considered a candidate for USSOE. Obama is throwing children of color under the bus by stubbornly listening to the wrong advisors.

This is definitely not the change I voted for.

Posted by: lacy41 | July 28, 2010 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Duncan was a big mistake, but I'm fairly sure Rhee was never considered. People were buzzing about it, because she was well- known and he mentioned her during a debate (but not since!) But she was never on a White-House list (like Linda Darling-Hammond) of people being considered.

In other words, Obama was stupid, but not that stupid.

Posted by: efavorite | July 28, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse

School Improvement Grants: Examples of Successful Efforts
August 26, 2009

http://www2.ed.gov/programs/sif/examples.html

OPTION 1: TURNAROUNDS
I. Chicago Academy for Urban School Leadership (AUSL), Chicago, IL
Founded in 2001, AUSL is a nonprofit specializing in teacher preparation and school management. It works in partnership with Chicago Public Schools (CPS) to transform chronically underperforming public schools. Using unionized staff, AUSL's model includes:
Hiring a new principal;
Keeping effective teachers but replacing many others;
Implementing a curriculum based on high expectations and organized around frequent assessments to help teachers track student progress and differentiate instruction; and
Building a culture of respect and intellectual curiosity.

AUSL opened its first turnaround school in 2006 at the Sherman School of Excellence. The transition took place in the summer, so the student body remained the same and students did not have to temporarily move to other schools. Since then, Sherman has produced steady gains in the student achievement. AUSL's second turnaround school was the Harvard School of Excellence. Before AUSL's turnaround in 2007, Harvard ranked in the bottom five out of more than 3,000 Illinois elementary schools. Harvard has produced steady gains in student achievement.

II. Green Dot, Los Angeles, CA
Green Dot, which runs charter schools in Los Angeles, partnered with the L.A. Unified school district to turn around Locke High School. Locke was considered one of L.A.'s most troubled and chronically underperforming public high schools. Only 5 percent of its entering 9th graders would graduate and enroll in four-year colleges and universities. On September 11, 2007, the LAUSD school board voted to give Green Dot operational control of Locke High School. Green Dot is the first outside organization to operate a traditional public school in the district.

In 2008, Locke reopened as eight small college-prep academies known as the Locke Family of High Schools. Five of the schools are housed on the main campus, with three schools located on satellite campuses. Green Dot adopted a college-focused curriculum and provided extensive remediation for the large number of students who arrive at 9th grade working at below grade level.

As part of the turnaround, only 40 of the school's 120 teachers remained in the school. Principals can be hired and fired at will, and principals have more control over the staffing in their schools as well. In the first year, Locke showed modest gains in test scores, but tested significantly more students (38 percent more than the previous year, indicating more students were staying in school throughout the year), reduced truancy and dropout rates, and improved the safety of the school setting. Additionally, nearly 20 percent more students graduated, and large percentages of those continued onto college, including many to four-year colleges.

Posted by: TwoSons | July 28, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

OPTION 2: RE-START AS CHARTER SCHOOL OR UNDER EDUCATION MANAGEMENT ORGANIZATION

III. Mastery Schools, Philadelphia, PA
Mastery Charter Schools is a growing network of charter college preparatory, middle-high schools that serves 1,750 neighborhood students in Philadelphia. Mastery has focused on converting chronically low-performing schools to charter schools and then dramatically improving student performance. Mastery's teachers are continually focused on improving student achievement. They align assessments with clear objectives and use assessment data to direct instruction. Mastery creates an achievement-focused school culture and fosters meaningful, personal relationships between students and adults. Teachers emphasize problem-solving and social-emotional skills. All students receive workplace skills training and participate in internships to ensure they develop the real-world skills required for college and the workforce. Mastery schools also have both an extended school year and an extended school day. Their program focuses on mastery ("attaining a grade of 76 percent or above") of a well-defined and very narrow curriculum of basic academic skills (reading, writing, and math). It is driven by periodic benchmark assessments monitored for overall percentage improvements.

One example of a Mastery School is Pickett Middle School. At the previous Pickett Middle School, run on the same site, student suspensions were high and achievement was low. The building was in need of significant refurbishment. In the transition to a Mastery school, all staff and students who applied to stay were required to sign new contracts accepting Mastery's approach and management systems to ensure effective instruction, learning, and school climate. Many staff chose to leave, but most students stayed. The first year improvement at Pickett was dramatic. Across seventh and eighth grade state testing, average reading improvement was 45 percent; average math improvement was 21 percent. Mastery's highly structured/ managed approach also led to dramatic change in school culture. At Pickett and its two peer conversion schools, violence incidences have dropped 85 percent while student turnover dropped by nearly half.

Posted by: TwoSons | July 28, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

OPTION 3: TRANSFORMATION

IV. Hamilton County, TN

Hamilton County, Tennessee, is widely recognized as a school reform success story. With $5 million from the Chattanooga-based Benwood Foundation and funding from several other local organizations, school, and community officials launched an intensive teacher-centered campaign to reform Chattanooga's lowest-performing schools. The model, now known as the "Benwood Initiative," dramatically improved student achievement. School district officials replaced most principals in the Benwood schools and required teachers to reapply for their jobs. Approximately one-third of teachers did not return to the Benwood schools. Community officials created financial incentives to attract new talent, including free graduate school tuition, mortgage loans, and performance bonuses. Benwood's success has had at least as much to do with a second, equally important teacher-reform strategy: helping teachers improve the quality of their instruction.
A new analysis of "value-added" teacher effectiveness data conducted indicates that over a period of six years, existing teachers in the eight Benwood elementary schools improved steadily. Before the Benwood Initiative kicked off, they were far less effective than their peers elsewhere in the Hamilton County district. In terms of student achievement, students in Benwood schools achieved impressive gains; for example, Benwood 3rd graders scoring proficient or advanced on state reading tests rose by 27 percent from 2003-2007.

Posted by: TwoSons | July 28, 2010 11:56 AM | Report abuse

The administration should fulfill the responsibilities by law to Title 1 poverty public schools by ensuring that these public schools meet basic standards.

Given the glaring problems of the Title 1 poverty public schools, and the failure of the administration to take any action to ensure basic standards at these schools, it is clear that this administration has failed in it's responsibilities.

This administration should not be supporting public charter schools that have the basic standards of safety to students and teachers, and a class room environment where teachers can teach and students can learn.

Instead the Federal government should be ensuring that all Title 1 poverty public schools in this nation have the basic standards of safety to students and teachers, and a class room environment where teachers can teach and students can learn.

This is by law the responsibility of the Federal government and this administration.

Congress passed law regarding the Title 1 poverty public schools to deal with inequality in education at these schools.

There can be no equality in education while the Title 1 poverty public schools do not meet basic standards.

Would anyone with common sense be concerned with test results, and teacher effectiveness in a public school where there was constant danger from the building crumbling, and all of the teachers in class rooms had to deal with the constant piercing sound of jack hammers?

Concern for test results and teacher effectiveness need to come after the Federal government has ensured that a Title 1 poverty public schools has the basic standards of safety to students and teachers, and a class room environment where teachers can teach and students can learn.

Posted by: bsallamack | July 28, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Every "next" approach looks better when you are in the throes of the current thrust of reform or change.

The education complex likes delay most of all, it seems, while schools deteriorate and kids get prolonged exposures to ineffective teaching, disruptive students, union sparring, and other ills.

Posted by: axolotl
......................................
I do not want reform of the Title 1 poverty public schools.

Instead the Federal government should be ensuring that all Title 1 poverty public schools in this nation have basic standards of safety to students and teachers, and a class room environment where teachers can teach and students can learn.

Ms. Rhee has been a total failure in Washington D.C. since the Title 1 poverty public schools are not safe and do not have class room environment where teachers can teach and students can learn.

Simply allowing public schools that are not safe and class room environments that prevent teachers from teaching and prevent students from learning may be adequate to supporters of Ms. Rhee but to me are only an administer that has accepted the status quo.

Ms. Rhee has been a champion of public charter schools which have the basic standards of safety to students and teachers, and a class room environment where teachers can teach and students can learn.

Instead of being a champion of public charter schools Ms. Rhee as head of the school system should have been working to bring these basic standards to all the public schools of D.C. This was her responsibility.

For too long in this nation educational reform has simply meant individuals ignoring their basic and legal responsibilities while blaming others.

Ms. Rhee is a prime example of this "reform".

Posted by: bsallamack | July 28, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

The only responsibility of the Federal government to public schools are responsibilities to Title 1 poverty public schools.

Congress has passed legislation in regard to all Title 1 poverty public schools and this is the basis of the Federal government responsibilities for these schools. That legislation was passed to deal with the inequalities in education of Title 1 poverty public schools.

Given this actual responsibility by legislation to Title 1 poverty public schools the Federal government primary and foremost obligation should be to address the educational inequalities of Title 1 poverty public schools.

The fact that Title 1 poverty public schools have glaring problems in safety and class room in mayhem that do not meet the basic standards of the majority of public schools in this nation indicates that the Federal government has done a poor job in regard to the Federal government responsibilities by legislation to address the educational inequalities of Title 1 poverty public schools.

By law it is the responsibility of the Federal government to address the educational inequalities of Title 1 poverty public schools.

The Federal government has a responsibility to ensure that every Title 1 poverty public schools has at least the basic standards of public schools.

Throughout the nation the basic standards of public schools are safety to students and teachers, and a class room environment where teachers can teach and students can learn.

The violence in schools and mayhem in class rooms that exists in so many Title 1 poverty public schools indicates that the Title 1 poverty public schools do not have the basic standards of public high schools.

The first responsibility of the Federal government should be to ensure that the Title 1 poverty public schools meet at least the basic standard of public schools.

It is very dubious whether the Federal government can order the closing and reorganization of Title 1 poverty public schools based upon student performance, but it is clear that the Federal government can order the closing and reorganization of Title 1 poverty public schools that do not provide the basic standards of public schools of safety to students and teachers, and a class room environment where teachers can teach and students can learn.

Race To The Top in no manner addresses the Federal government legal responsibility to Title 1 poverty public schools and the glaring problem of Title 1 poverty public schools in regard to basic standards.

The administration should be spending time and money to ensure that every Title 1 poverty public schools has the basic standards of public schools.

The Federal government can not guarantee the ability of every child to learn, but the Federal has the obligation by law to ensure that Title 1 poverty public schools have basic standards of public schools.

This administration should not continue to ignore legal obligations and responsibilities.

Posted by: bsallamack | July 28, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

All English-speaking countries have horrendous levels of educational underperformance at the lower end of the ability range because they continue to tolerate a spelling system which makes learning to read and write exceptionally difficult. Identical letters are too often allowed to have different sounds (an, any, apron; on, only, once)and identical sounds are spelt in too many different ways (blue shoe flew through to you two too). Until these inconsistencies get reduced, they will continue to scupper all initiatives to reduce educational underachievement.
My website EnglishSpellingProblems.co.uk shows the enormous literacy learning burdens which English-speaking children have to tackle and my blogs explain the problems which they create. Masha Bell

Posted by: mashabell | July 28, 2010 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Also - can someone with clout please ask Obama and Duncan point blank why they persist on this path that both harms students and loses votes? What is the upside in their minds? There must be one - please ask them what it is.

Posted by: efavorite | July 28, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Short version bsallamack

The law requires the administration to be responsible for dealing with the educational inequality of Title 1 poverty public schools.

You can not have educational equality when there are not basic standards.

Safety of students and teachers, and an environment in classrooms where teachers can teach and students can learn are basic standards.

All most all Title 1 poverty public schools do these basic standards.

The primary goal of the administration should be to ensure the basic standards at Title 1 poverty public schools since there can be no educational equality without these basic standards.

Posted by: bsallamack | July 28, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

A thought.

Separate but equal is not legal.

When the Secretary of Education stated the importance of the need for class room management for Title 1 poverty public school was not this an admission by this administration that the administration is aware of separate but equal public schools in this nation where there are differences in the standards for public schools based upon poverty?

Is this any different from the separate but equal idea for blacks that was ruled unconstitutional since it was clearly shown the acceptance of different standards for white public schools in comparison to the standards for black public schools?

Posted by: bsallamack | July 28, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: TwoSons

It would be nice to know from TwoSons which Title 1 poverty public schools now have the basic standards of safety of students and teachers, and an environment in classrooms where teachers can teach and students can learn.

All of the charter schools mentioned by TwoSons probably have these basic standards.

The answer to the problems of Title 1 poverty public schools is not charter schools. The answer to the problems of Title 1 poverty public schools is the Federal government ensuring these schools have the basic standards that are a requirement of education.

Posted by: bsallamack | July 28, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

"includes a proposal for a new school transformation model that emphasizes community involvement"
...............................
Forget the community involvement and start using the courts.

The Washington D.C. public schools are examples of separate but equal with different standards for the white public schools and the black and poverty public schools.

Is there any doubt that the white public schools in D.C. have the basic standards of safety to students and teachers, and a class room environment where teachers can teach and students can learn, while the public schools for blacks and the poor lack these basic standards.

Is this any different from the separate but equal schools that once existed where white public schools had new textbooks while the worn out textbooks were handed to the black schools?

Time for blacks to revert back to the use of the courts to have basic standards of public education in public schools for blacks and the poor.

Posted by: bsallamack | July 28, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/opepd/ppss/reports.html#title

Title I Implementation:

Update on Recent Evaluation Findings (2009) provides a summary of findings from Title I evaluation studies that have become available after the publication of the National Assessment of Title I final report in 2007. The report presents data collected in 2006-07 through the National Longitudinal Study of NCLB and the Study of State Implementation of Accountability and Teacher Quality Under NCLB. The report includes findings from interviews with state education officials in all states, surveys of nationally representative samples of districts, principals, and teachers, data from consolidated state performance reports, and analyses of student achievement trends on state assessments and NAEP.

Posted by: TwoSons | July 28, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Key findings include: In states with consistent achievement trend data from 2004-05 to 2006-07, the percent of students reaching the state's proficient level rose for most student groups, but most states would not meet NCLB's goal of 100 percent proficiency by 2013-14 unless student achievement increases at a faster rate. Nearly 11,000 Title I schools were identified for improvement in 2006-07, and almost half were in the more advanced stages of corrective action and restructuring. Most elementary teachers reported no change from 2004-05 to 2006-07 in the amount of instructional time that they spent on specific subjects. Student participation in Title I school choice and supplemental educational services (SES) continues to rise, and district expenditures on these choice options doubled from 2003-04 to 2005-06. In a subsample of seven districts, student SES participants showed greater achievement gains than non-participating students, but no statistically significant relationship was found between school choice participation and student achievement. Most teachers have been designated as highly qualified under NCLB, but teachers in high-poverty schools had less experience and were less likely to have a degree in the subject that they teach.

An Exploratory Analysis of Adequate Yearly Progress, Identification for Improvement, and Student Achievement in Two States and Three Cities (2009). This report presents the results of exploratory quasi-experimental analyses that use a Regression Discontinuity (RD) design to examine the relationships between certain features of NCLB accountability and subsequent student achievement in Title I schools in two states and three school districts. Specifically, the report examines the effects of not making AYP or of being identified for the first year of school improvement status (after missing AYP for two consecutive years).

Key findings include: The study found some positive achievement impacts for schools that missed AYP, but not for schools that were identified for the first year of school improvement; effects were not consistent across years and outcomes. Findings from two states and three cities cannot be generalized to produce a national estimate of program effects on student achievement. In addition, the report discusses several study limitations, including technical features of the RD method requiring that the analysis focus on schools that had missed AYP or had been identified for improvement for the first time, which may be relatively weak interventions relative to the full set of progressively more intensive interventions prescribed under Title I.

Posted by: TwoSons | July 28, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Key findings include: In states with consistent achievement trend data from 2004-05 to 2006-07, the percent of students reaching the state's proficient level rose for most student groups,
Posted by: TwoSons
.............................
Can we stop with meaningless verbiage.

The document describing Race To The Top by the government indicates the significant discrepancy between the idea of states in regard to proficiency and proficiency on national test.

Comments are for your thoughts and ideas and not for simply download parts of government documents without any comment.

Posted by: bsallamack | July 28, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

For those interested in public education.

New York Students Are Struggling, New Test Scores Show
New York Times

"...just more than half of city students in the third through eighth grades are proficient in math, not four out of every five, as they were led to believe last year."

From 80 percent to 50 percent.

These results are from New York State readjusting test scores to real standards.

It is obvious that simply using testing and test scores does not improve public education. It is also obvious that rising test scores without any significant change in public schools are simply the results of lowering standards.

Requiring every Title 1 poverty public schools to have the basic standards of safety of students and teachers, and an environment in classrooms where teachers can teach and students can learn, would improve public education since it would mean real change in these public schools.

Posted by: bsallamack | July 28, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse

bsallamack, while all agree resources provided to Title 1 school is a paramount issue, your posts are non-productive nor useful.

This is not a white child vs. black child within urban schools that are not making adequate progress.

and a far as posting information from outside resources, Ms. Strauss blog secction includes most of the same.

It is not necessary for you to be rude or disrespectful to those who dispute or not totally agree with your opinion, because again, its not useful nor productive information.

Posted by: TwoSons | July 28, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

correction:

This is not ABOUT white child vs. black child within urban schools that are not making adequate progress.

Posted by: TwoSons | July 28, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

bsallamack, while all agree resources provided to Title 1 school is a paramount issue, your posts are non-productive nor useful.

This is not ABOUT white child vs. black child within urban schools that are not making adequate progress.
................................
In Washington D.C. it is about white versus black. Washington D.C. is small enough to bus students where white students in white neighborhood would find themselves in poor neighborhoods and blacks would find themselves in neighborhoods that are not poor.

I am not advocate for this since will not provide the basic standards to Title 1 poverty public schools.

A lawsuit in Federal court though would force the politicians to deal with the lack of basic standards to Title 1 poverty public schools.

How many Federal dollars are wasted on expensive standardized tests and computer system when Washington D.C. is not providing the basic standards of public schools?

As for the white ward in Washington D.C. I believe that any disruptive and/or violent student is quickly removed from the public schools in this ward.

And yes it is not just black and white since I imagine the public schools of the white ward have the children of black politicians.

I do not expect total equality in this society but given the responsibility of the Federal government in regard to Title 1 poverty public schools these schools should have the basic standards of safety of students and teachers, and an environment in classrooms where teachers can teach and students can learn.
................................
My comments were in regard to simply posting cut and pastes from documents. I would comment if a person that fully shared my views did the same and simply posted cut and pastes from documents without comment regarding the information.

There is no purpose in posting information from outside sources without comment regarding the information. Without comment for all one knows the person that is posting may be in total disagreement with the information.

I do not know what you mean in regard to Ms. Strauss blog. Is this a reference to her column? Her columns usually contains comments in regard to information from outside source and not simply information from outside sources.

Posted by: bsallamack | July 28, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse

criticizes the administration for taking “top-down school improvement efforts”

Wahoo Taco, Colorado. . . ate there with my daughters yesterday and once again was amazed at how nice and happy the people who worked there were. Not to mention efficient. The service was wonderful and the food as always, delicious.
When the manager stopped by I asked him what the magic trick was. He had a colleague answer the question. The management trusts us to do our jobs. They're not watching our every move.

I suggested that they need to teach a class on this novel concept.

Fear is the worst motivator.

Bsallamack,
Have you gone to the DOE webpage and posted some questions/comments for Secretary Duncan and his town hall with teachers tomorrow?

Posted by: tutucker | July 28, 2010 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Curious as to the makeup of a new national coalition of community-based groups called Communities for Excellent Public Schools. If they're going to come out with criticisms of all this, that's fine, but they need to identify themselves first.

What communities? What constitutes an excellent public school? 24 groups? Okay, what are they? Who heads them? Who is sponsoring them? Where/When/How did they originate? How long have they been in existence? Are they politically active in other areas? Who heads these groups? How are their "leaders" chosen?

If we find out a little bit about them, then we can determine if they have any credibility. To simply say they're is a coalition of community-based groups criticizing Obama's RttT initiative is innocuously benign and it could imply anything.

Posted by: phoss1 | July 28, 2010 6:00 PM | Report abuse

I've read the article and many of the comments. What strikes me is that there is much being said about process – culture, curriculum, staffing, student support, school reform, etc – but little on substance. Teaching rather than learning,

In fact, the only comment that I found that looks at a root cause of our literacy problem is that of mashabell, who points out that English spelling leads to poor performance of young students in all English-speaking countries. It seems to be a valid aspect to look at. Yet there are no other comments referring to this diagnosis.

If its a cause, why are we wasting time on symptoms?

Posted by: a-h-campbell | July 28, 2010 6:52 PM | Report abuse

Bsallamack,
Have you gone to the DOE webpage and posted some questions/comments for Secretary Duncan and his town hall with teachers tomorrow?

Posted by: tutucker
.................................
No. See no point in it.

I thought that the new administration would simply stop the insanity of No Child Left Behind. Instead they came up Race To The Top. When they first came out with Race To The Top one of the requirements was 40 percent earmarked for standardized testing and computer systems.

From following this for a number of years it has finally clicked. The poverty schools need basic standards as first priorities.

It is insane to waste money when you can not even provide the basic standards for a school.

The idea of evaluating the effectiveness of a teacher in a class with large amounts of time spent on "class room management" is absurd.

Children are malleable. Make the poverty public schools safe and with sanity in class rooms and you will see a change.

The problems of No Child Left Behind have been bad enough.

Here is a question for Duncan.

How would the programs of Race To The Top have prevented the death of the achieving black student that was beaten to death last year?

Posted by: bsallamack | July 28, 2010 6:56 PM | Report abuse

Curious as to the makeup of a new national coalition of community-based groups called Communities for Excellent Public Schools. If they're going to come out with criticisms of all this, that's fine, but they need to identify themselves first.
Posted by: phoss1
..............................
I know one website is advocating safe schools.

I am not such a fan for community groups.

I would rather have the Urban League and NAACP demanding the basic standards in poverty public school and using the courts if necessary.

A community group is only really effective at election time.

Look at the mayor race in Washington D.C. where neither candidate are demanding the basic standards in the public schools.

Are they really that thick and do not know that parents want public charter schools because they at least have the basic standards of of safety of students and teachers, and an environment in classrooms where teachers can teach and students can learn?

Posted by: bsallamack | July 28, 2010 7:06 PM | Report abuse

TwoSons,

AUSL is a bit crazy in the way they hire principals, teachers and other school personnel. They assemble about 60 candidates in the room at one time. These candidates are for there for every job imaginable that in a school except lunch lady and custodian. AUSL puts them in groups of about 6 each. Each group is then given about 20 minutes to make up an answer to 1 question. All groups have the same question. Next each group stands up and talks about its solution. Each person gets about 45 seconds to talk.

Next each person goes for a one on one interview for approximately 3 to 4 minutes.

From that they decide who to hire. What I am trying to figure out is how they hire the best people in that kind of interviewing scenario.

Posted by: educationlover54 | July 28, 2010 8:23 PM | Report abuse

"Are they really that thick and do not know that parents want public charter schools because they at least have the basic standards of of safety of students and teachers, and an environment in classrooms where teachers can teach and students can learn?"

The only charter school I ever visited wasn't safe. Perhaps this charter school didn't have the option of throwing kids out who cause problems.

Posted by: educationlover54 | July 28, 2010 8:25 PM | Report abuse

The reason Arne Duncan wants to turn these schools into charter schools is because the poor economically disadvantaged residents who live in these districts don't have the political power to stop him.

Posted by: educationlover54 | July 28, 2010 8:39 PM | Report abuse

The only charter school I ever visited wasn't safe. Perhaps this charter school didn't have the option of throwing kids out who cause problems.

Posted by: educationlover54
.........................
Sounds like a public school to me.

According to posts the public charter schools do have this option.

I remember one post from a public charter school teacher that confirmed that they could rid of students. I think it was from KIPP.

..........................
Below from
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charter_school

that would operate much like a private business—free from many state laws and district regulations, and accountable more for student outcomes rather than for processes or inputs

These waivers do not mean a school is exempt from the same educational standards set by the State or district. Autonomy can be critically important for creating a school culture that maximizes student motivation by emphasizing high expectations, academic rigor,
discipline,
..................................
Looks like the charter schools have full discretion in getting rid of students that do not conform.

Posted by: bsallamack | July 28, 2010 9:02 PM | Report abuse

The reason Arne Duncan wants to turn these schools into charter schools is because the poor economically disadvantaged residents who live in these districts don't have the political power to stop him.

Posted by: educationlover54
.............................
That is why the Urban League and the NAACP should sue in Federal court in regard to the D.C. Title 1 poverty public schools for basic standards.

Any politician that suggested public charter schools in a middle class or affluent public school district would be quickly viewed as a fool. Imagine telling property owners who pay large property taxes that the education of their children would be dependent upon a lottery.

You need court cases in Federal court and the strongest case would be in D.C.

Note that both candidates for Mayor in D.C. are calling for efficient teachers but are not calling for safe public schools.

In reality enforcing basic standards of safety of students and teachers, and an environment in classrooms where teachers can teach and students can learn, would be probably less expensive than the useless standardized testing and computer systems. D.C. must spend a fortune in recruitment alone.

After the beating to death of an honor student in Chicago last year, Chicago is spending millions on problem children that have grown into problem youths. No concept of identifying these youths when they are young and take some action when this action would be most effective.

Just placing a child in a restrictive school early on is sometimes enough. Children are not stupid and can be changed early on. Of course there will always be the hard core but a restrictive school does not need to be more expensive than a normal public school.

Great that the current policy is ignore the problems so the public expenses later become enormous.

Posted by: bsallamack | July 28, 2010 9:43 PM | Report abuse

In fact, the only comment that I found that looks at a root cause of our literacy problem is that of mashabell, who points out that English spelling leads to poor performance of young students in all English-speaking countries. It seems to be a valid aspect to look at. Yet there are no other comments referring to this diagnosis.

Posted by: a-h-campbell
.................................
I love this one.

Combine this with changing over using the binary system instead of the decimal system and we have also solved the problem for math. It is easier for children to learn 0,1 instead of ten symbols.

Someone should send these to Duncan so we do not need to spend the 4 billion.
................................
I guess no one learned how to read English before the 1700's when spelling was formalized. Since no one knew how to read English, who read the first spelling book or even wrote the first spelling book? Samuel Johnston should have thought of this.

New Spelling
public school publick skool
New York Nu York
stalk stork
stork stork
walk work
work werk
oolor culler
colour culler
to tu
two tu
too tu

And I always thought twaddle should be spelled with 1 d and two l's. Have not made up my mind on twiddle yet.

Posted by: bsallamack | July 28, 2010 10:04 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the thought-provoking comments. Gratifying to see so many posts and the interests. That in itself offers hope.

Are there are not two issues? A student needs to graduate from high school to make a decent living. This is a student issue.

Society and in particular employers need workers (and this includes teachers as well, who are competent and can deliver the tasks entrusted to them. This is a societal issue.

I think the first issue is an issue for the states. The second issue is a global issue and so is an issue for the Federal Government.

Is there a classroom model that can address both issues? Without doubt. there is more than one. But unfortunately, the present models do not want to address the two issues adequately. An error that creeps in without our knowing is mixing up the two as one issue.

The ISS model above addresses the first issue to some extent. But it is wishful thinking that such a student can rise to the level of competency the second issue expects.

Today the first issue is resolved at the school level by the principal through make-ups etc. The second issue can be resolved only by the classroom teacher. Unfortunately, the classroom teacher has little control of the key elements of what we call competency. It is not enough to have the standards, and a teacher to deliver the standards in the classroom. How do we deliver those standards to the ISS student, to the student who is absent, who is sick, who is busy with other things including sleeping? Make-ups? How do you make up? Where is the compact for that?

Thanks.


Posted by: Carolinas | July 28, 2010 10:15 PM | Report abuse

Are there are not two issues? A student needs to graduate from high school to make a decent living. This is a student issue.

Society and in particular employers need workers (and this includes teachers as well, who are competent and can deliver the tasks entrusted to them. This is a societal issue.

Posted by: Carolina
..................................
What strange ideas?

Far different from Thomas Jefferson where public education was necessary for our type of government.

Apparently Carolina has very little
knowledge regarding the history of public education in this nation. Public education existed with most individuals that were their own employers as farmers, shop owners, and even Abraham Lincoln as a lawyer working for himself. Lincoln had very little actual public education but from this small amount of public education was able to self educate himself.

I guess if we find ourselves going back to labor intensive work for employers we really will not need public education for many Americans anymore.

It is amazing how public education in this nation has been debased.

Perhaps this is the reason for an unnecessary war, and the willingness to accept the politicians who see patriotism as the the last refuge of a scoundrel.

Remember Freedom Fries.

How many public schools in this nation that teach about the Mexican American War mention that Ulysses S Grant wrote in his autobiography that many officer that fought in this war, including himself, saw the starting of this war as simply a land grab?

Thomas Jefferson wanted public education to protect this nation. It should be no surprise that those who want to use public education to their own ends are now removing Thomas Jefferson from the textbooks.
.............................

As far as the "ISS model" I wish that individuals stopped using acronyms. My first take on ISS was the intelligence service of Pakistan.

Posted by: bsallamack | July 29, 2010 12:09 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: bsallamack

I love this one.
Combine this with changing over using the binary system instead of the decimal system and we have also solved the problem for math. It is easier for children to learn 0,1 instead of ten symbols.
–––
Or we could resurrect Roman numerals, and see how we'd fare!

Just as Arabic numerals have made math easier, so would an updated spelling aid literacy learning.

I've read that nations with spelling systems that are regular don't have the illiteracy problem that we English-speakers, worldwide, have.

I am currently reading a book on Atatürk. Among the reforms he introduced to lift the Turkish people out of third world status was changing the Turkish alphabet from Arabic to Roman, and with better spellings – easier to learn and reflecting the language better.

The literacy rate at that time (1923) was 11 percent. It is now in the 90s, an area we English speakers don't frequent.

We should at least be looking at this situation.

Posted by: a-h-campbell | July 29, 2010 12:54 AM | Report abuse

Informative article but wow, nothing like bad grammar in an article about education and on the website of a reputable newspaper, no less.

"The Obama administration’s approach to improving the most troubled schools are nothing more than a toughened version..."

The subject of the sentence is "approach".

The correct verb, therefore, would be that of the third person singular, "is".

"The approach is..."

Editors?

Posted by: chuckchuck13 | July 29, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

In her firings and more firings of teachers, Michelle Rhee cites a few things: poor perfomance,abusive activites by teachers, and budget woes. MY question is WHY was this not done on a csse by case basis, IF in fact there were questionable activities,and on what basis were they ACTUALLY fired?

Will we ever know,and how many people have to be fired before anyone investigates HER?

Posted by: Onpoint3 | July 29, 2010 12:34 PM | Report abuse

I am new to this blog -- and I am a relatively new teacher in a DCPS high school. I am amazed at the energy spent on the educational blogs in the Post. I wish my fellow teachers had the same energy at school!

The simple fact is that many DCPS schools are dreadful. To earn a 1.75 IMPACT score last year, a teacher had to be crazy bad. Additionally, remember, the minimum requirements on the Praxis tests are significantly lower in DC than in almost all states/districts. Still, many of the fired teachers failed to reach even those low Praxis standards and were released as a result.

Some teachers complain that they don't understand IMPACT. If so, those teachers are lazy. DCPS offered literally hundreds of professional development sessions on IMPACT. Also, all teachers could monitor their scores throughout the year. Unfortunately, I discovered that many teachers were unwilling or unable to use the simple math required to compute their ongoing cumulative scores based on the ratings provided on the Educator's Portal.

IMPACT is not perfect -- but anything is better than the status quo.

ALSO, REMEMBER THAT THE DCPS TEACHERS VOTED IN FAVOR OF A CONTRACT CONTAINING IMPACT THIS SPRING BY A THREE TO ONE MARGIN. (UNFORTUNATELY, LESS THAN HALF OF THE TEACHERS BOTHERED TO VOTE ON THE CONTRACT. THE VOTING PROCESS TOOK LESS THAN THREE MINUTES. WHAT DOES THAT TELL YOU ABOUT THE DILIGENCE OF THE TEACHERS IN DC?)

The students in DC deserve better teachers. It's time to stop complaining about minimum accountability and start teaching at a higher level.

Posted by: 1234fightforbetterteachers | July 30, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company