Worth Reading

Worth Viewing

Albuquerque students give powerful expression to standardized testing’s impact on them in this poetry slam performance titled “Love Letter to Albuquerque Public Schools.”

CPS Members in Print

CPS member Bruce Ditata is a retired special education teacher and prolific writer of opeds and letters to the editor. Read his recent piece, “Charter Schools: Real Innovation or Empty Promises,” here. It appeared in the Nov. 5, 2010 edition of SouthCoastToday.com.

Worth Reading January 3-7, 2011

“Race to the Top: A Practitioner’s Perspective,” from EducationNews.org:

During his campaign, the president said, “We should not be forced to spend the academic year preparing students to fill in bubbles on standardized tests.”  In June 2009 he said that a broader range of assessments could include “one standardized test, plus portfolios of work that kids are doing, plus observing the classroom.  There can be a whole range of assessments.”  Unfortunately, RTT guidelines represent a step backward from these goals.  They actually make the testing problems worse without providing sufficient support for “a broader range of assessments.”  FairTest reports that by focusing on new standards and tests, they distract attention from necessary reforms and overemphasize the value of test scores in data systems.

Worth Reading November 15-21, 2010

“Why I Will Not Teach to the Test,” an Education Week Commentary:

Because there are too many standards, and because most of these standards are assessed on the state tests, teachers are pressured to cover everything. When everything is covered, shallow teaching and thinking occur.

November 8-14, 2010

* WBEZ-Chicago and Catalyst Chicago have produced an in-depth look at who transfers out of Chicago charter schools and why. They interviewed families of children who left and illustrate the complexities of how they were affected by these schools strict discipline codes, including a mother who was told by a KIPP school that because of her son’s behavior, she would need to come and sit with him through an entire school day if she wanted him to stay in the school:

But Hollingworth, an hourly worker at a fast-food restaurant, says she didn’t have the option to miss time from work. As she recalls the meeting, the principal and counselor had his transcript in hand and papers for her to transfer him out.

She signed them, and walked away from the school crying. “It was like I failed,” she says. Ironically, Larry now attends Penn Elementary School, housed in the same building with KIPP Ascend.

Read the full story here.

Ongoing Antidotes to the MSM’s Narrow Perspective on Education

  • Thank heaven for Valerie Strauss and her Answer Sheet blog in the Washington Post. I recommend it whenever you get tired of the mainstream media’s incredibly narrow representation of what’s happening in in our schools. Whether it’s Valerie’s own contributions or those of guest bloggers, including writers from FairTest and CPS, this blog is required reading if you’re looking for the real deal on education today. Read it every day here.
  • Don’t miss any of the brilliant ongoing dialogue between Diane Ravitch and Deborah Meier in the Bridging Differences blog on Education Week’s web site. Over the years, these two bright minds have indeed begun to bridge their differences on education policy, and it’s always enlightening to read their exchanges and analyses of what’s going on. You can read them here.
  • Jim Horn‘s blog, Schools Matter, offers hard-hitting analyses of education policy. As he puts it, “This space explores issues in public education policy, and it advocates for a commitment to and a re-examination of the democratic purposes of schools.” Read it here.