How Will Next Week's Testing Get Covered? Badly, I Fear.

How Will Next Week's Testing Get Covered? Badly, I Fear.

Testing starts next week, and it'll be interesting to see how it goes (and how folks react to it). The media focus will inevitably be on snafus and opt-outs, thanks in large part to advocates pushing their attention that way. But if this NJ blogger's roundup of testing there is any indication the overall process might be smoother than you might expect.  Or not. Meantime, Chuy and Rahm are still heading to a big runoff, and there's another alleged cheating scandal. A new study shows that young inexperienced teachers are still over-assigned to kids with greater needs (I don't see CTU arguing that North Side teachers should rotate through tougher schools, though to be fair Karen Lewis did transfer from Lane to Brooks).

TESTING

Activist Chicago principal: 'Shut down the PARCC now' Sun Times: In a letter to principals on Thursday, CPS chief Barbara Byrd-Bennett included general guidelines advising that children who refuse to take the test can remain in the testing room to read, draw or do schoolwork as long as it's not in a subject being ...

Why Some Parents Are Sitting Kids Out Of Tests NPR: Milwaukee's assessment director, Melanie Stewart, says the district is not testing as much as parents think. "Out of 180 school days, about two days students experience some form of a standardized test," she says.

Two top-rated CPS schools welcoming PARCC opt-outs Chicago Sun-Times: As Chicago Public Schools gear up to give a new controversial standardized state test, at least two top-rated North Side schools are encouraging parents to sit their children out of the PARCC. An opt-out bill passed out of a House committee Wednesday ..

MISC

Can Chicago's Alternative High Schools Measure Up? Chicago Magazine: Local high-school dropouts can enroll in an increasing number of "options schools" while still graduating with a regular diploma from CPS. But does that degree still mean the same thing?

2 Investigators: High School Allegedly Used Grade-Cheating To Pass Students CBS Local: Sources say the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) Inspector General is looking into how Benito Juarez Community Academy High School uses “benchmark recovery” — a grading system that is supposed to help failing students meet standards.

New SW Side classrooms proposed to ease overcrowding Chicago Tribune: He said he's talking with the mayor's office and Chicago Public Schools about his idea. "It's not going to be soon. We're probably a couple years away on it, but the fact of the matter is we have two neighborhood CPS elementary schools, Mount Greenwood .

RUNOFF

Rahm, Chuy — tell us the truth Chicago Tribune: So even though Chicago Public Schools, then as now, was running an unsustainable deficit, with nearly half its more than 660 schools underenrolled, his school board proposed closing just 53, eventually settling on 49 elementary schools and a high school...

WATCH: The premiere of The School Project's 'Restoring Justice' Chicago Sun-Times: In it, young documentary filmmakers from Free Spirit Media explore the impacts of Chicago Public Schools' discipline policies on students, school communities and society.

OTHER PLACES

Why Is Milwaukee So Bad For Black People? NPR: It might surprise you that Wisconsin schools hand out suspensions to black students at the highest rate in the country. If so, you've probably never lived in Milwaukee.

How One Student Went From Illiteracy To The Top Of Her Class Boston Learning Lab: Audrey Lang flips through her notes for her Citywide Science Fair project at Edward M. Kennedy Academy for Health Careers on March 3, 2015. She is valedictorian of her senior class, but until sixth grade did not know how to read or write.

Fairfax schools chief explains snow day policies Washington Post: Fairfax County schools superintendent Karen Garza held an open meeting for parents in Chantilly on Tuesday and at the end of the session she addressed an issue looming in the room.

Education Entrepreneur Chris Whittle Resigns From Avenues School WSJ:  Whittle, the education impresario who some credit with igniting the national charter-school movement, has resigned from his latest, high-profile venture, Avenues: The World School, officials at the Chelsea private school said Thursday.

Ferguson School Police Too Heavy-Handed With Students, Justice Department Says EdWeek: Two school resource officers employed by the Ferguson, Mo., police department to work in the city's schools engage in "police action that is unreasonable for a school environment," the U.S. Department of Justice found in an investigation of law enforcement practices in the St. Louis suburb.

Lack of Diversity Persists in Admissions to New York City’s Elite High Schools NYT:  Five percent of the students offered placement in eight specialized high schools were black and 7 percent were Hispanic, according to statistics released on Thursday. See also ChalkbeatNY.

NATIONAL

Study: Novices Often Teach the Youngest, Neediest Students in Their Schools EdWeek: A new study finds that novice math teachers in a large urban district are more likely to teach the youngest and neediest students in their schools.

Teacher union will consider supporting Galatzan's opponent in Los Angeles Unified election LA Daily News: While Los Angeles Unified School Board member Tamar Galatzan handily defeated a field of five challengers in Tuesday's primary election, the teachers union said it will now consider supporting her opponent in the May 19 runoff. See also LA School Report.

After a series of defeats, opponents of Common Core open new fronts in battle against standards Hechinger Report: Legislators 19 states introduced bills to repeal the Common Core this session. So far none have succeeded. Repeal bills in even the reddest states – states like Mississippi, Arizona, and both Dakotas – have failed to make it to governors’ desks this year. See also SI&A Cabinet Report:  Wyoming flips in support of science Common Core.

[For a roundup of actual opt-out numbers being reported in local NJ papers -- quite small in all but 4 affluent areas -- check out NJ Left Behind here.]

Gender Fluid Generation Medium: In many ways, it seems like gender non-conformity awareness is at all-time high. Last week Congressman Mike Honda announced via Twitter that he was the “proud grandpa of a transgender grandchild.” But schools are still catching up with the needs of gender nonconforming students. Last year, California’s first law protecting gender nonconforming students went into effect. It gives Jace the right to use the bathroom of his choice.

 

Preschools a microcosm of debate on measles vaccinations LA Times: For 19 years, the director of the Laguna Parent Participation Preschool has worked alongside mothers and fathers to decide such questions as what children should eat during snack breaks and what type of field trips they should take.

A Painful Decade of School Reform Schooled: In the year since he took office, de Blasio has introduced another round of reforms, including the city’s universal pre-K program, a new program for a relatively small number of struggling schools, and a move announced last month giving local superintendents more control over area schools. New policies on issues like co-locations, charter schools, and teacher tenure remain in the works. Many of these policy shifts scale back or replace Bloomberg initiatives; others are de Blasio’s own signature programs. But they ultimately send a clear message to teachers: No matter how good or bad it might sound, don’t expect any reform to stick around for long.

Welcome to Kindergarten. Take This Test. And This One. Schooled: In November, Mansel’s students sat down to take their fifth standardized test. It was the MAP test, which is usually between 50 and 60 questions long and adjusts automatically to match the child’s skill level. If a child answers a question wrong, she gets a slightly easier one next time. And if she answers several right in a row, the test quickly ramps up in difficulty.

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