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Posts Tagged ‘consolidation’

Disaster Capitalism Comes to Puerto Rico. Is ANYONE Surprised?

February 7, 2018 Comments off

When Hurricane Kartina hit New Orleans and forced the closure of all of the public schools in the city, then President Bush and his Secretary of Education seized on the disaster as an opportunity to “transform” the school district replacing the public school system overseen by an elected board with charter schools. Years later, despite evidence to the contrary, the GOP and the neoliberal “reformers” and researchers who supported then hailed this “revolutionary change” as unequivocally good, even though there was mounting evidence to the contrary.

Unsurprisingly, after Hurricane Maria devastated his island the Governor of Puerto Rico is now taking the same tack as the Bush administration took after Kartina, introducing a reform package that replaces the single school district that governs Puerto Rico’s schools with a voucher plan. As reported by Reuters writer Nick Brown,

Speaking in a televised address on Monday, Governor Ricardo Rossello also said every public school teacher in Puerto Rico would receive a $1,500 annual salary increase beginning next school year. It was unclear whether the pay bump would require legislation.

The governor’s remarks came 10 days after the island’s education secretary, Julia Keleher, said she planned to decentralize Puerto Rico’s education department and introduce “autonomous schools.”

The pay raise for teachers presumably will win their endorsement for this plan to introduce “autonomous schools”, but the AFT is not buying it:

The plan met with immediate scorn from the American Federation of Teachers, which represents 40,000 educators in Puerto Rico. AFT President Randi Weingarten told Reuters the plan “doesn’t add up,” saying salary bumps will do nothing without more investment in schools.

“There’s a lot of nice flowery language in here, but … you can’t actually do the things [Rossello] is talking about doing and still divert resources from public schools,” Weingarten said.

The voucher program, projected to begin during the 2019-2020 school year, would allow parents to choose public or private school alternatives, but may face legal hurdles.

Ms. Keleher has a daunting task given the fiscal issues facing Puerto Rico. She has generated considerable criticism before the Hurricane because she needed to close over 150 schools to help balance the budget and she had launched some decentralized BOCES-like service organizations across the state to help provide cost-effective support to the schools. But based on what I’ve read, her forte is applying spreadsheet analyses to the operation of schools in the name of efficiency… and efficiency is not necessarily a hallmark of democracy, though is seems to be an article of faith that it IS a hallmark of the marketplace…. and vouchers are the fastest way to impose market forces onto schools.

In the coming months it will be interesting to see if Puerto Rico moves ahead with it’s “revolutionary idea” or backs off because of the inevitable legal challenges it will face. Stay tuned.

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This Just In: Privatizing Profiteers Benefit from and Exacerbate Racial and Economic Segregation

January 20, 2018 Comments off

Yesterday’s Washington Post blog post by Valerie Strauss consists of an interview of author Nowile Rooks whose latest book, Cutting School, is summarized in one telling quote that leads Ms. Strauss’ post:

“If we as a nation really took seriously dismantling underperforming school districts and replacing them with the same types of educational experiences we provide the wealthy, it would negatively impact the bottom lines of many companies.” — Noliwe M. Rooks

In Ms. Strauss’ interview, Ms. Rooks provides a narrative on how segregation began after the Civil War, how it flourished and was supported by law until the mid-1950s, and how it continues today. But Ms. Rooks asserts that the privatization of public education has made the situation even worse, and that any policy that seeks to end segregation by race (or, by implication of her analysis, income) would likely run afoul of the investor class whose campaign contributions to conservatives and neoliberals ensure the perpetuation of our current system:

Students educated in wealthy schools perform well as measured by standard educational benchmarks. Students educated in poor schools do not. Racial and economic integration is the one systemic solution that we know ensures the tide will lift all educational boats equally. However, instead of committing to educating poor children in the same way as we do the wealthy, or actually with the wealthy, we have offered separate educational content (such as a reoccurring focus on vocational education for the poor) and idiosyncratic forms of educational funding and delivery (such as virtual charter schools and cyber education) as substitutes for what we know consistently works. While not ensuring educational equality, such separate, segregated, and unequal forms of education have provided the opportunity for businesses to make a profit selling schooling. 

Ms. Rooks coined a term for this phenomenon: “segrenomics”. And this paragraph on how it works could have been lifted from “Reinventing Government” or any treatise coming from libertarian think tanks:

I am calling this specific form of economic profit “segrenomics.” Children who live in segregated communities and are Native American, black or Latino are more likely to have severely limited educational options. In the last 30 years, government, philanthropy, business and financial sectors have heavily invested in efforts to privatize certain segments of public education; stock schools with inexperienced, less highly paid teachers whose hiring often provides companies with a “finder’s fee”; outsource the running of schools to management organizations; and propose virtual schools as a literal replacement for — not just a supplement to — the brick and mortar educational experience.

The attraction, of course, is the large pot of education dollars that’s been increasingly available to private corporate financial interests. The public education budget funded by taxpayers is roughly $500 billion to $600 billion per year. Each successful effort that shifts those funds from public to private hands — and there has been a growing number of such efforts since the 1980s — escalates corporate earnings.

In short, these privatized for-profit schools are designed to benefit shareholders first and foremost and if children learn as a result it is a collateral benefit.  Is there any way out of this trend given the money being spent by philanthropists and profiteers, the relentless message that privatized for-profit market driven schools are better than “government schools”, and the desire to keep taxes low at all costs? Ms. Rooks’ interview concludes with this:

In 1967, Martin Luther King Jr. gave a speech entitled “Where Do We Go From Here: Community or Chaos?” I often reflect on his questions when thinking about where the contemporary paths we are traveling in relation to public education are leading. I think community or chaos are two potential destinations. We have to stop and reflect on where both our educational preferences and policies are leading us. We can either continue to encourage chaos by allowing our tax dollars to be used to educationally experiment on working class and poor children, and disrupt poor communities by closing schools, or we can embrace community by requiring that poor children are educated in the same ways as the wealthy.

The choices we make are will tell future generations much of what they will need to know about what our democracy means to us here in the 21st century.

I have been consulting in rural Vermont communities who are trying to answer a variation of this question. The legislature in Vermont passed a bill that encouraged town school districts to voluntarily merge into multi-town union districts where their local schools would be represented by regional boards instead of locally. This bill rightly assumes that a single merged K-12 district will provide greater efficiency and, thus, greater savings. But many town bridle at the changes that come with regionalization: they fear that their towns might ultimately lose their public schools, which serve as community anchors. The overarching question is one of efficiency versus community: do we want to save every dollar we can in the name of reducing costs, even if it means eliminating our community? It is clear that some Vermont towns do not want the state imposing a new definition of “community” on them in the name of efficiency. It is also clear that some suburban and exurban towns and urban neighborhoods do not want the state government or city government imposing a definition of “community” on them in the name of segregation. In both cases the hearts and minds of individuals need to be changed. I believe we need to expand our definition of “Community” to be as inclusive as possible without abandoning the traditions that make our local “community” unique. It CAN be accomplished if we lower our voices, soften our positions, and open our hearts and minds.

 

Contingent Employment Redux: Bigger May NOT be Better and Efficiency May NOT be Good

July 15, 2015 Comments off

The NYTimes article on contingent employment I referenced in a post a couple of days ago was recently referenced in Naked Capitalist with a quote from the article followed by this commentary:

“In retrospect, the Uberization of the economy began innocently enough back in the late 1970s….. [I]nvestors and management gurus began insisting that companies pare down and focus on what came to be known as their “core competencies,” like developing new goods and services and marketing them” [New York Times]. Interesting idea. Then we had outsourcing. Then we outsourced everything.

These comments on the “Uberization of the economy” resonated with me. As a school superintendent from the early 1980s onward I faced the need to weigh the value of outsourcing “non-core” functions like transportation, food service, maintenance, payroll, etc, vs. having the school district oversee those functions. Little did I suspect at the time that ultimately the management of the school district itself would be outsourced… and if vouchers take root the entire enterprise of public education will be outsourced. But I am still persuaded that public schools ought to work collaboratively with other public agencies to provide food, transportation, health services, technology support and business services…. maybe including administrative services. But my observation after leading in school districts in ME, NH, NY, VT and MD and consulting since my retirement in New England is that many school districts prefer to operate these services themselves despite the potential for savings. Indeed, the small rural districts are the least likely to consider any outsourcing because the people who are likely to lose jobs as a result of that decision are sitting in the audiences at town meeting. Small town democracy might be the best antidote to the wholesale privatization of public schools. In the final analysis this is yet another instance where bigger may not be better for the well-being of the community and efficiency may be the enemy.

Ferguson’s Demographic Problem is EVERYWHERE

August 17, 2014 1 comment

The Naked Capitalism blog featured a link to a Bloomberg Business Week article by Peter Coy titled “The County Map That Explains Ferguson’s Tragic Discord”. The article described the idiosyncratic governance structure in MO whereby a “city” like Saint Louis is actually comprised of 92 different governmental jurisdictions that:

…set themselves up as municipalities to capture control of tax revenue from local businesses, to avoid paying taxes to support poorer neighbors, or to exclude blacks.

Coy concludes the paragraph with this assertion, which he elaborates upon in the article: “Their behavior has ranged from somewhat parochial to flatly illegal.” 

Having 92 jurisdictions competing against each other is great for business: they all provide ever increasing tax incentives for new businesses in a race to the bottom that depresses local tax bases. It also leads to differences in racial demographics between communities as whites flee municipalities when blacks move in. Having lived in, worked in, and driven through several metropolitan areas I know that Ferguson is no exception to the rule. Darby Township, Chester PA, and Camden NJ all share Ferguson’s plight as does Newburgh, Beacon, and Poughkeepsie NY and several small communities outside NYC. Within cities neighborhoods have the same kinds of issues (see my recent post on the neighborhood surrounding Shaw JHS in the 1970s for a classic example). And the demographic isn’t purely racial: it’s often economic as well. Communities with high property values often “break away” from regional districts in NH when they sense that their resources are being unfairly used to prop up the schools from neighboring communities with a lower tax base.

Unless public services like education are funded through broad based taxes we will continue to create “Fergusons” where there is latent discontent because its citizens sense they are being given the short end of the stick…. but changing governance patterns like those in MO, NY, NH, PA, and virtually EVERY state in the union will require a change of heart, and that is a challenge in today’s world.

Racing to the Top: The Prequel

June 18, 2014 Comments off

Timeless Posts XVIII

The conclusion: I worked for several weeks on an RTTT grant that was not funded.

In an earlier post, I reported that I was exploring the possibility of submitting a Race to the Top District grant. As of Friday, it is evident that I will be playing some role in the development of a Race to the Top proposal that will be submitted by at least five New Hampshire school districts, two of which are in the North Country where I am doing consulting work. This post describes how this came to pass.

In late May, when I returned from a three week camping trip to the Four Corners, I read with great interest that the US Department of education was launching a new Race to the Top competition that was aimed at DISTRICTS as opposed to STATES and would emphasize personal learning plans as the basis for measuring student (and teacher) progress as opposed to using standardized achievement tests. Furthermore, it was allowing consortia of districts to apply, so long as the consortia represented schools with at least 40% of the student population qualifying for free and reduced lunch and all of the schools were “rural” based on the USDOE’s definition. This set of conditions matched the districts I am working with as part of my consulting work with North Country Education Services and the emphasis on personalization resonated with me.

As two of the white papers found elsewhere in this blog indicate, I was on record at the NH State Department as being opposed to Race to the Top as it was originally conceived and supportive of waivers so long as a different form of metrics was used. I submitted the first white paper, “Race To The Top: NO“, to NH State Commissioner Ginny Barry a week in advance of a State Superintendents meeting and was pleasantly surprised to see that she had made copies of the six page essay and circulated to my colleagues and used it as the basis for discussion. When I read about the USDOE’s decision to grant waivers to States in fall of 2011, I got a copy of the State’s draft waiver submission and wrote another white paper, “NCLB Waivers: A chance to Get the Metrics Right”, which I mailed to Ginny Barry. Her administrative assistant emailed me and invited me to attend a planning session of the team that was preparing the waiver. The general theme of the white paper was the absurdity of using standardized achievement test results as the basis for determining “value added” and urged the state to consider a wider array of metrics. I was discouraged to learn that the waiver requirements from the federal government did not provide an avenue for the State to use any kind of metric other than standardized achievement tests and effectively required the state to use test results as the be all and end all of teacher accountability.

Given this background, I sent an email to the Deputy Commissioner Paul Leather in late May asking if the North Country Education Services might apply for this grant. His quick response was: “we should talk”. Over the next three weeks, I gave two power point presentations to the Superintendents in the North Country, wrote an extended essay (see below) describing a plan that might be the basis for a Race to the Top submission, and— using the DRAFT RFP available on the USDOE web site— developed a one page synopsis of the conditions the district(s) would need to meet in order to apply. I also reached out to the Superintendent in SAD 44 in Bethel ME and the Northeast Kingdom Superintendents to see if they might be interested in forming an interstate consortium. At the request of the State Department of Eduction’s liaison to the North Country I called the NH-NEA liaison to the State’s Task Force on Professional Evaluation and three different organizations with experience in grant writing. The stage was set for seeking a Race To The Top District Grant…. and the consensus of my colleagues in the North Country and all of the folks I talked with was to wait to see what the final RFP looked like and then loop back to see if a submission was feasible. The conventional wisdom was that after July 4th the final RFP would be available and we could get a running start on the submission over the summer.

The waiting was longer than any of us expected. In mid August the final RFP was posted. The application was daunting in its length and would clearly require some professional assistance. I contacted one of the organizations who I conferred with in mid July and they emailed that they needed to confer with their CEO before getting back to me.  Shortly thereafter I received an email from John Freeman, an old friend and colleague who I hired to be Elementary Principal in Bethel, ME in the early 1980s and who was now Superintendent in a small district in NH. He had a grant writing partner and was looking for districts to join his to form a consortium that might apply for a Race To The Top grant. He got my name from the State Department of Education. On Friday, John Freeman told USDOE that he would be applying as the lead district in a consortium of NH rural school districts. I’m not sure what form the grant submission will take, but pasted below is the extended essay describing a plan that might be the basis for a Race To The Top submission:

 

 

 

The Race to the Top Steering Committee would oversee the work of five distinct but inter-related task forces for Evaluation, Data Management, Assessment, Curriculum, and Community Outreach. The Committee members would be appointed by the NCES Executive Board and serve throughout the life of the RT3-D grant. At the conclusion of the grant cycle, members would cycle off over a three-year period or be re-appointed for a three-year term. At least one representative from the Steering Committee would serve as a liaison to each Task Force and be responsible for posting the task force meetings, maintaining minutes of each task force meeting, and ensuring that the committee is on track to complete its work in keeping with the time lines incorporated in the grant documents. The proposed mission statements, membership, and time lines for each committee is attached.

EVALUATION TASK FORCE

Mission: By 2014-15, adopt and implement evaluation systems for teachers, school-based administrators, central office instructional administrators, and school boards. The evaluation systems must meet the standards set forth by the RT3-D grant RFP.

 

Evaluation Task Force Membership: The Evaluation Task Force will be comprised of the sub-committee chairs (see below) and a Steering Committee liaison to each sub-committee.

 

Sub-Committees: Given the breadth of evaluation systems to be developed, the Evaluation Task Force will be divided into three (3) sub-committees: teacher evaluation; principal evaluation; and Superintendent evaluation. The sub-Committees will review the evaluation systems recommended by the NH Task Force on Effective Teaching and recommend either universal adoption of one of the systems recommended by the Task Force or demonstrate how the teacher evaluation systems adopted by individual districts can be used to evaluate the effectiveness of teachers in a fashion that matches the grant expectations.

Evaluation Task Force Sub-Committee Overview:

Teacher Evaluation Sub-Committee:

  • Participating LEAs would commit to sending representatives to serve on a Teacher Evaluation Sub-Committee in 2012-13 and be committed to implementing a new evaluation system no later than 2014-15
  • Committee members will include six (6) teacher representatives selected by NH-NEA and the NH-VEA; two (2) superintendents, two (2) building administrators selected by the NCES Executive Board; and one liaison from the Steering Committee.
  • The NH SIG Teacher rubric, the NH Task Force on Effective Teaching’s Final Report, and the “VT Plan to Meeting USDOE Waiver requirements” would inform the development of a new evaluation format. Based on the RFP for the RT3-D grant, the evaluation format must “meaningfully differentiate performance using at least three levels” and include the following metrics for evaluating teacher performance:
    •  Student growth and achievement (as measured by State and local assessments)
    • Professional practice
    • Evidence that the teacher uses information provided by the data system to personalize education (as measured by the frequency the teacher accesses the student’s personal learning plan)
    • Survey data to attain 360-degree review

Principal (i.e. building level administrator) Sub-Committee:

  • Participating LEAs would commit to sending representatives to serve on a Principals Evaluation Sub-Committee in 2012-13 and be committed to implementing a new evaluation system no later than 2014-15
  • Committee members will include four (4) Principals; two (2) Superintendents selected by NCES Executive Board; one Steering Committee liaison
  • NH SIG Principal effectiveness rubric and the “VT Plan to Meeting USDOE Waiver requirements” would inform the development of a new evaluation format. Based on the RFP for the RT3-D grant, the evaluation format must “meaningfully differentiate performance using at least three levels” and include the following metrics for measuring principal performance:
    • Student growth and achievement (as measured by State and local assessments)
    • Professional practice
    • Evidence that the teacher and the principal use information provided by the data system to personalize education (as measured by the frequency the teacher accesses the student’s personal learning plan)
    • Survey data to achieve 360-degree review

Superintendent Evaluation Sub-Committee:

  • Participating LEAs would commit to sending representatives to serve on a Superintendent Evaluation Sub-Committee in 2012-13 and be committed to implementing a new evaluation system no later than 2014-15
  • Committee members will include four (4) Superintendent representatives selected by the NCES Executive Board; one (1) building administrator; one (1) NEA representative; one (1) representative from a State School Board Association; and one liaison from the Steering Committee.
  • The NHSBA best practices for evaluating the Superintendent would inform the development of a new evaluation format. Based on the RFP for the RT3-D grant, the evaluation format must include the following metrics for measuring the Superintendent’s performance:
    • Feedback from “…many stakeholders, including but not limited to educators, principals, and parents”
    • Student growth and achievement (as measured by State and local assessments)

 

CURRICULUM TASK FORCE

Mission: By 2014-15, identify, recommend for adoption and implement curriculum materials for teachers at all grade levels that complement state and local assessments and meet the Common Core Standards adopted by the respective State Boards of Education.

 

Curriculum Task Force Membership: The Curriculum Task Force will be comprised of the sub-committee chairs (see below) and two Steering Committee liaisons who will attend sub-committee meetings on an ad hoc basis.

 

Sub-Committees: The Curriculum Task Force will be divided into six (6) sub-committees as follows:

  • (K-5) literacy;
  • (K-5) mathematics;
  • (K-5) literacy as it applies to social studies/science/technology;
  • (6-12) literacy;
  • (6-12) mathematics;
  • (6-12) literacy as it applies to social studies/science/technology;

 

Curriculum Task Force Sub-Committee Overview

  • Participating LEAs would commit to sending representatives to serve on at least one curriculum committee.
  • Committee members will include six-to-ten (6-10) teacher representatives selected by the NCES Executive Board; and one administrative liaison that will handle the logistics for planning the sub-committee meetings and the dissemination of minutes.
  • The Sub-Committee will:
    • Review existing curriculum materials available to classroom teachers to determine their appropriateness given the changes to state assessments and the adoption of the Common Core Standards
    • Identify open and commercial digital learning content that matches content tested on state assessments and incorporated in the common core.
    • Communicate regularly with members of the Assessment and Data Management Task Forces to ensure alignment between local assessments and curriculum materials
    • Recommend the universal adoption of curriculum materials in the six broad content areas or demonstrate how the curriculum materials in use by individual districts can be used to evaluate the effectiveness of the

 

DATA MANAGEMENT TASK FORCE

Mission: By 2014-15, identify, recommend for adoption, and implement a learning management system for teachers at all grade levels that personalizes instruction for students, complements state and local assessments, and aligns with the Common Core Standards adopted by the respective State Boards of Education.

 

Data Management Task Force Membership: The Data Management Task Force will be selected by the NCES Executive Board and will consist of five (5) technology integration teachers from the schools; the NCES technology staff; two (2) at-large representatives with data management experience (i.e. health care; university staff); and the Steering Committee liaison.

 

Data Management Task Force Overview

  • Review existing learning management systems to determine their appropriateness given the changes to state assessments, the adoption of the Common Core Standards, and the plan to expand the use of data to inform instruction
  • Review existing infra-structure in place in each school to determine upgrades needed to expand the use of digital learning content and the expansion of digital assessments
  • Determine the need for standardization of hardware in order to provide a common learning management system
  • Explore grant sources and/or partnerships in order to expand the use of technology applications in schools.
  • Communicate regularly with members of the Assessment and Curriculum Task Forces to ensure alignment

 

ASSESSMENT TASK FORCE

Mission: By 2014-15, identify local assessments drawn from North Country teachers at all grade levels that support the personalization of instruction for students, complement state assessments, and align with the Common Core Standards adopted by the respective State Boards of Education. These local assessments will be adopted for inclusion in a database that will be used in all North Country schools. The Assessment Task Force will also be responsible for designing local assessments that will be used to determine Readiness for Kindergarten; College entry; and Career entry

 

Assessment Task Force Membership: The Assessment Task Force will be will be comprised of the sub-committee chairs (see below), two Steering Committee liaisons who will attend sub-committee meetings on an ad hoc basis, and a consultant who will serve as a resource to the group.

 

Sub-Committees: The Assessment Task Force will be divided into six (6) sub-committees as follows:

  • Kindergarten readiness;
  • Local Assessments to complement State literacy assessments;
  • Local Assessments to complement State mathematics assessments;
  • Local Assessments to complement State social studies//science/technology assessments;
  • College Readiness;
  • Career readiness

 

Assessment Sub-Committee Overview

Kindergarten readiness:

  • Participating LEAs would commit to sending representatives to serve on a Kindergarten Assessment Sub-Committee in 2012-13 and be committed to implementing a new Kindergarten Readiness assessment no later than 2014-15
  • Committee members will include six (6) teacher representatives, three each from pre-K programs and Kindergarten; two (2) liaisons from the Community Outreach committee, two (2) building administrators selected by the NCES Executive Board; and one liaison from the Steering Committee.
  • The NH “Ready!” assessment and the NH TS Gold Pre-School Special Ed Assessment would inform the development of a new Readiness assessment.

 

Local Literacy Assessments:

  • Participating LEAs would commit to sending representatives to serve on a Local Language Arts Assessment Sub-Committee in 2012-13 and be committed to implementing a new Local Language Arts assessment no later than 2014-15
  • Committee members will include six (6) teacher representatives, two (2) building administrators selected by the NCES Executive Board; and one liaison from the Steering Committee. The assessment consultant will attend on an ad hoc basis.
  • The new state assessments in reading and writing and the Common Core in those content areas would inform the development of new local assessments. Based on the RFP for the RT3-D grant, the assessments must be “rigorous and relevant” and yield results that are “actionable performance measures that will assist grantees and the USDOE in managing both leading indicators of implementation success and outcome measures of performance”.

 

Local Mathematics assessments:

  • Participating LEAs would commit to sending representatives to serve on a Local Mathematics Assessment Sub-Committee in 2012-13 and be committed to implementing a new Mathematics assessment no later than 2014-15
  • Committee members will include six (6) teacher representatives, two (2) building administrators selected by the NCES Executive Board; and one liaison from the Steering Committee. The assessment consultant will attend on an ad hoc basis.
  • The new state assessments in mathematics and Common Core would inform the development of new local assessments. Based on the RFP for the RT3-D grant, the assessments must be “rigorous and relevant” and yield results that are “actionable performance measures that will assist grantees and the USDOE in managing both leading indicators of implementation success and outcome measures of performance”.

 

Local Social Studies/Science/Technology assessments:

  • Participating LEAs would commit to sending representatives to serve on a Local Science Assessment Sub-Committee in 2012-13 and be committed to implementing a new Local Language Arts assessment no later than 2014-15
  • Committee members will include six (6) teacher representatives, two (2) building administrators selected by the NCES Executive Board; and one liaison from the Steering Committee. The assessment consultant will attend on an ad hoc basis.
  • The new state science assessments and Common Core would inform the development of new local assessments. Based on the RFP for the RT3-D grant, the assessments must be “rigorous and relevant” and yield results that are “actionable performance measures that will assist grantees and the USDOE in managing both leading indicators of implementation success and outcome measures of performance”.

 

College readiness:

  • Participating LEAs would commit to sending representatives to serve on a College Readiness Assessment Sub-Committee in 2012-13 and be committed to implementing a new College Readiness assessment no later than 2014-15
  • Committee members will include six (6) teacher representatives, at least one of whom has experience in guidance counseling; three (3) liaisons from higher education, preferably members of the Community Outreach committee, two (2) building administrators selected by the NCES Executive Board; and one liaison from the Steering Committee.
  • The existing assessments used to determine the need for remediation would inform the development of a new College Readiness assessment. Based on the RFP for the RT3-D grant, all students “…should be able to, or be on a trajectory to, demonstrate content and skills mastery and credentialing for the State and LEA’s college and career ready graduation requirements”. The “college ready” assessments must yield results that will help schools accomplish that goal.

 

Career readiness:

  • Participating LEAs would commit to sending representatives to serve on a Career Readiness Assessment Sub-Committee in 2012-13 and be committed to implementing a new Career Readiness assessment no later than 2014-15
  • Committee members will include six (6) teacher representatives, at least one of whom has experience in vocational counseling and two of whom are vocational educators; three (3) liaisons from the business community, preferably members of the Community Outreach committee, two (2) building administrators selected by the NCES Executive Board; and one liaison from the Steering Committee.
  • The existing assessments used to determine the need for remediation would inform the development of a new Career Readiness assessment. Based on the RFP for the RT3-D grant, all students “…should be able to, or be on a trajectory to, demonstrate content and skills mastery and credentialing for the State and LEA’s college and career ready graduation requirements”. The “college ready” assessments must yield results that will help schools accomplish that goal.

 COMMUNITY OUTREACH TASK FORCE

Mission: Serve as liaison to parents, the business community, higher education, public and private agencies that serve youth, and community members.

 

Community Outreach Task Force Membership: The Community Outreach Task Force will be selected by the NCES Executive Board and will consist of ten representatives from parent organizations, the business community, higher education, public and private agencies that serve youth, and the community at large, and the Steering Committee liaison.

 

Data Management Task Force Overview

  • Review existing alliances between public education and the various constituent groups to determine ones that could be replicated in other LEAs and/or schools.
  • Identify gaps in services to children and develop a means of filling those gaps through grant sources and/or partnerships among groups on Task Force
  • Identify committee members or community members to serve as liaisons to other Task Forces.
  • Assist in the development of community surveys, other means of communication.

Disrupting Class Redux

May 27, 2013 Comments off

A few years ago Clay Christensen and Michael Horn wrote Disrupting Class, a book I read and circulated to school board members and administrators in my district. The book describes how technology disrupted several businesses (e.g. banking, telecommunications, broadcasting) and how it was about to have a disruptive effect on public education.

Earlier this month Diane Ravitch offered a link to an Executive Summary of a White Paper Christensen published recently and, after reading the summary, I downloaded the entire white paper, which I found thought provoking and hopeful. Basically, Christensen sees public schools remaining intact in the same ways that bank branches are intact: they will provide support for students but will offer basic services in an easier and more convenient format. He describes the future function of schools in the following paragraphs, with emphases added:

As disruptive models of blended learning do begin to transform schooling by replacing the traditional classroom, the fundamental role of brick-and-mortar schools will pivot. We suspect that schools will no longer become the primary source for content and instruction and instead focus their capabilities on other core services.

What is the future role of schools as online learning improves and snaps itself into brick- and-mortar schooling environments? Society “hires” schools to do a number of jobs, only one of which is to impart learning to students. Another central job is simply to care for children and keep them safe while parents are at work or otherwise unavailable. Schools provide important social services for many students, which range from counseling and mentoring to health services and free meals. In the years ahead, schools will likely provide more of these services, not less, for some students. From the perspective of children, having a place to have fun with friends is also vital, as is having a place to be exposed to various extracurricular activities like sports and the arts. Schools can do these jobs quite well for some students, even as other students have alternative options to fulfill them.

… In many ways the arrival of online learning is welcomed news for stressed out schools that have long been asked to do too much with too little. Once online learning becomes good enough, schools will be able to rely on it to deliver consistently high-quality instruction adapted to each student. That will free schools to focus on nailing the other jobs. These other jobs will likely include things like guaranteeing high-quality meals; clean and pleasing physical environments; the elimination of bullying; a range of athletic, musical, and artistic programs; and excellent face-to-face mentoring.

If you read my own White Paper on how Vermont could consolidate administratively while retaining its small schools you will see why this resonated with me. In the end, Christensen believes hybrid versions of public education will dominate making it possible for ALL students to have access to high quality personalized education at a very reasonable cost.

Rural Schools as Network Schools

April 18, 2012 Comments off

An ASCD article entitled “Rural School, Community Hub” describes how small rural schools can integrate the life and heritage of the community into the classroom but actually falls short of the way rural schools COULD become true community hubs. Two essays I wrote that are posted on this blog outline how schools could be comprehensive community centers. The White Paper, Reformatting New England Schools,  describes how the Network School model could preclude the need to close small rural schools in Vermont and New Hampshire by incorporating health and welfare services into the school facility along with before-and-after school day care centers. My essay, A Homeland Security Law for Education, published in Education Week nearly a decade ago describes a way that schools could help coordinate and health services. Geoffrey Canada’s initiative that provides wraparound services to disadvantaged students, described in the book Whatever it Takes, makes his charter schools into true community hubs.

The lessons described in the ASCD article are good first steps toward creating community partnerships, but until services to children are coordinated in a coherent fashion we will continue to spend scarce resources in silos and miss the opportunity to provide comprehensive services to children in need.