A friend of mine has two signs in her office. One says, “Stay calm and carry on.” The other says, “Freak out and throw things.”
Both offer paths to grasping the realities of Milwaukee Public Schools as the system reaches a milestone. Sunday is the last day of the contract between MPS and its teachers union, the Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association. It is, at least for the foreseeable future, the end of the teacher contract era in MPS.
The teachers’ contract was a huge shaping force in MPS for roughly the last half century, setting not only pay and benefits, but lots of the operating rules for daily life. Especially in the last 15 years, as the price of health insurance and commitments to current and future retirees escalated, the contract drove the financial realities of MPS — and the direction was rather startling.
Now, the contract is gone. What impact will that have on MPS? A few observations:
Stay calm and carry on: In many ways, not much will be different. As is true in general in Wisconsin school districts, the contract is being succeeded by a “handbook,” a statement by management of what the rules of the school road will be. A lot of the provisions are in line with the past. A lot of school systems around the state have realized it’s good to have some stability and to keep teachers generally feeling they are being treated with some dignity and in ways that have some rationale.
Much more on “Act 10”, here.
Jeremy Singer-Vine & Anton Troianovski:
While 7-year-old Eros ViDemantay played with a kid’s app on his father’s phone, tracing an elephant, behind the scenes a startup company backed by Google Inc. GOOG +0.38% was collecting information from the device–including its email address and a list of other apps installed on his phone.
“My jaw dropped,” says Lee ViDemantay, Eros’s father and a fifth-grade teacher at the Los Angeles Unified School District. “Why do they need to know all that?” The app, called “How to Draw–Easy Lessons,” also sent two of the phone’s main ID numbers.
A Wall Street Journal examination of 40 popular and free child-friendly apps on Google’s Android and Apple Inc.’s AAPL +0.70% iOS systems found that nearly half transmitted to other companies a device ID number, a primary tool for tracking users from app to app. Some 70% passed along information about how the app was used, in some cases including the buttons clicked and in what order.
Some three years after the Journal first tested data collection and sharing in smartphone apps–and discovered the majority of apps tested sending details to third parties without users’ awareness–the makers of widely used software continue to gather and profit from people’s personal information.
Cameron McWhirter & Meredith Rutland:
A conspiracy case stemming from one of the largest school-cheating scandals in U.S. history could be scuttled or drastically diminished if a judge rules that investigators coerced some educators into talking.
Fulton County Superior Court Judge Jerry W. Baxter is considering a defense motion that he strike down many, if not all, of the charges–most notably conspiracy–against the former superintendent of Atlanta’s public schools and 34 other former educators. Defense lawyers say the charges are based on interviews by state investigators who told some defendants they would be fired if they didn’t talk, which they argue violated defendants’ constitutional right against self-incrimination.
Judge Baxter is expected to make a ruling soon, though the precise timing is unclear.
A 2011 report by the state investigators found that cheating on state standardized tests was rife in Atlanta schools, including allegations that teachers erased incorrect answers because they would get bonuses if their students got higher scores. The report found the educators were responding to pressure from the administration of Beverly Hall, the superintendent from 1999 to 2011, to show marked improvement in their students’ scores or face discipline or less pay.
The Folsom Cordova Unified School District has violated special education rules 63 times in the past four years, according to state records.
The violations ranged from placing a child in a restraint chair without informing the child’s parents to failing to provide families with progress reports in a timely fashion.
According to state files obtained by The Bee covering the last four school years, families filed 25 separate complaints alleging that Folsom Cordova violated state laws or federal regulations a combined 92 times.
Investigators subsequently concluded the district had failed to comply with special education rules 63 times, or in nearly two-thirds of the allegations.
The California Department of Education launched a formal review of the district after complaints spiked in 2010-11, when parents alleged the district committed 50 violations.
District officials say they have since addressed and resolved the problems identified that year.
Folsol-Cordova spent $135,777,901 for 19,198 students, or $7,072.50/student.
Channel3000, via a kind reader email
An 83-year-old music professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who has played bass with Bruce Springsteen and classical conductor Igor Stravinsky has been awarded the nation’s highest honor in jazz.
The Wisconsin State Journal reported that Richard Davis won a 2014 Jazz Masters Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Davis says, “It feels good to be honored amongst your peers.”
Jim Bender, of the pro-voucher group School Choice Wisconsin, said there are a range of legitimate reasons parents choose voucher-funded private schools, but that the rising number of voucher students proves parents want that choice.
That’s probably what you’d expect to hear from a leader in what voucher critics see as a national effort to privatize — and profit from — education.
Of course, what you hear from Democratic lawmakers and a DPI run by a Democratically leaning state superintendent — who rely for political support on teachers unions — is about what you’d expect to hear from those with a vested interest in public schools’ hegemony.
Vouchers might be one of those childhood-related policy debates that has less to do with what children need than with what lawmakers and their special interests want.
And if what children need is to be ignored, the next best thing might be to pay a little more attention to what parents say their children need.
Much more on vouchers, here.
considers that possibility in his recent column. About one in four bartenders has some kind of degree. Orszag draws heavily on this paper by Beaudry and Green and Sand, which postulates falling returns to skill. It’s one of the more interesting pieces written in the last year, but note their model relies heavily on a stock/flow distinction. They consider a world where most of the IT infrastructure already has been built, and so skilled labor has not so much more to do at the margin. This stands in noted contrast to the common belief — which I share — that “IT-souped up smart machines” still have a long way to go and are not a mature technology. You can’t hold that view and also buy into the Beaudry and Green and Sand story, unless you think we have suddenly jumped to a new margin where machines build machines, with little help from humans.
Rather than accepting “falling returns to skill,” I would sooner say that education doesn’t measure true skill as well as it used to.
On test day for my Behavioral Ecology class at UCLA, I walked into the classroom bearing an impossibly difficult exam. Rather than being neatly arranged in alternate rows with pen or pencil in hand, my students sat in one tight group, with notes and books and laptops open and available. They were poised to share each other’s thoughts and to copy the best answers. As I distributed the tests, the students began to talk and write. All of this would normally be called cheating. But it was completely okay by me.
Who in their right mind would condone and encourage cheating among UCLA juniors and seniors? Perhaps someone with the idea that concepts in animal behavior can be taught by making their students live those concepts.
Animals and their behavior have been my passions since my Kentucky boyhood, and I strive to nurture this love for nature in my students. Who isn’t amazed and entertained by videos of crafty animals, like Betty the tool-making crow, bending wires into hooks to retrieve baskets containing delicious mealworms? (And then hiding her rewards from a lummox of a mate who never works, but is all too good at purloining hard-won rewards of others?)
Much more on Visakan Veerasamy, here.
Ithaca, N.Y. is a relatively small college town, but one thing that might make up for its size is its brain power. That’s because Ithaca tops a new list from Lumosity that ranks U.S. cities by their raw cognitive performance.
San Francisco-based Lumosity creates brain-training exercises and has raisedmore than $70 million in funding to date from Discovery Communications, Menlo Ventures, and others. Since it launched back in 2007, Lumosity claims to have amassed the world’s largest dataset of human cognitive performance, with data and insights collected from more than 40 million people.
The study is available here.
Ruth Spencer, Nadja Popovich and Greg Chen:
It’s been a month since graduation season has come and gone, and while many college grads have entered the working world, financial challenges have left many back where they started: with Mom and Dad. We asked recent grads (so-called boomerang kids) and later, parents about life inside their respective nests. Here are their dispatches from home
The Boy Who Loved Math: The Improbable Life of Paul Erdős is a beautifully written, beautifully illustrated kids’ biography of Paul Erdős, the fantastically prolific itinerant mathematician who published more papers than any other mathematician in history.
Boy is written by Deborah Heiligman, with illustrations by Leu Pham, and the pair really worked to weave numbers and mathematics through the text, with lively, fun illustrations of a young Erdős learning about negative numbers, becoming obsessed with prime numbers and leading his high-school chums on a mathematical tour of Budapest. They also go to great lengths to capture the upside and downside of Erdős’s legendary eccentricity — his inability to fend for himself and his helplessness when it came to everyday tasks like cooking and doing laundry; his amazing generosity and brilliance and empathy in his working and personal life.
Ultimately, this is a book that celebrates the idea of following your weird, wooing the muse of the odd, and playing to your strengths rather than agonizing over your weaknesses. It’s an inspiring and sweet tale of one of humanity’s greatest mathematicians, and a parable about the magic of passion and obsession.
Much more on Paul Erdős, here.
The Madison School District has the money to improve low-income and minority student achievement but needs to reorganize its central administration to put more resources in the classroom, according to a group of local and national education experts who conducted a district review.
“We’re recommending the system turn on its head,” said Robert Peterkin, the former director of Harvard University’s Urban Superintendents Program who led the review team.
New Madison schools superintendent Jennifer Cheatham, a graduate of the Harvard program, organized the team of experts as part of her transition. She plans to consult their recommendations before releasing next month a set of specific strategies and 2013-14 budget proposal.
According to the team’s analysis, students need to be at the top of the “power pyramid” rather than district administration, with the focused goal of turning out graduates ready to attend college or start a career.
Central office administrators need to spend more time in the classroom and cut down on new programs that contribute to what teachers call “initiative fatigue.”
Principals should have more input into hiring a more diverse staff. Teachers need more focused professional development. And all district employees need specific goals that can be measured and used to hold them accountable.
Students also need “demand parents” who take an active role, not only in school bake sales and sports, but in understanding the curriculum and educational goals for their students.
“Resources even in this environment can be brought to bear from existing dollars to your more focused set of goals and activities, rather than supporting proliferation of those activities,” Peterkin told the Madison School Board on Monday night.
Cheatham said the review team had not taken a deep enough look at district finances to conclude that funding is available, but based on her assessment of the budget so far, she said the conclusion was “fairly accurate.”
“The recommendations from the transition team warrant a deep look at the central office organization and our allocation of resources,” she said.
The “Transition Team” Report (3MB PDF) and Superintendent Cheathem’s “Entry Plan” summary.
Madison’s disastrous long-term reading results.
Deja Vu: A Focus on “Adult Employment” or the Impossibility of Governance Change in the Madison Schools.
Madison has long spent more per student than most districts. The most recent 2012-2013 budget, via a kind Donna Williams and Matthew DeFour email is $392,789,303 or $14,496.74 per student (27,095 students, including pre-k).
A Democratic poll testing gubernatorial candidates asks respondents their opinions about Madison School Board member Mary Burke, a complaint with state regulators says.
In one of the strongest signs yet that Madison School Board member Mary Burke is considering a run against Gov. Scott Walker in November 2014, a polling firm is apparently testing her favorability rating among potential voters.
The poll came to light Tuesday after the Republican Party of Wisconsin filed a complaint with the Government Accountability Board regarding a telephone poll that included questions about the former Trek Bicycle executive and Commerce Secretary under Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle.
The Associated Press also reported Tuesday that online records show that on June 12, the day before the poll was conducted, six Internet domain names that point toward a Burke candidacy were registered anonymously, including: Burkeforwisconsin.org, Burkeforwisconsin.com, Maryburke.org, Burkeforgovernor.com, and Burkeforgovernor.org.
Burke did not respond to requests for comment Tuesday.
The GOP complaint, filed against Burke and the state Democratic Party, alleges a telephone pollster asked questions about Burke and whether certain statements would influence the respondent’s vote.
The PDF complaint (1.2MB).
Not much, if anything has changed within our public schools over the past year that Mary has been on the Board. There is plenty to do, starting with the District’s long-term, disastrous reading scores.
Students attending publicly funded, privately run charter schools posted slightly higher learning gains overall in reading than their peers in traditional public schools and about the same gains in math, but the results varied drastically by state, according to one of the most comprehensive studies of U.S. charter schools.
The study [PDF], published Tuesday by the Center for Research on Education Outcomes at Stanford University, found that charter students in Rhode Island, for example, gained the equivalent of an additional 86 days of reading comprehension and 108 days of math comprehension annually compared with peers in traditional public schools. In Nevada, however, charter students had 115 fewer days of learning in reading and 137 fewer in math annually, the study found.
Overall, the new study found that charter students gained an additional eight days of reading, while the math gains were identical. Low-income Hispanic and African-American students did much better in charters than their peers in the traditional school option, while white children did worse in charters.
The researchers and some charter proponents said the results suggest some states need to be more particular about which groups they award charters, and more aggressive about shutting low-performers.
Center for Research on Education Outcomes Press Release:
According to the 26-state study:
- Students in poverty, black students, and those who are English language learners (ELL) gain significantly more days of learning each year in both reading and math compared to their traditional public school peers. Performance differences between charter school students and their traditional public school peers were especially strong among black and Hispanic students in poverty and Hispanic students who are ELL in both reading and math.
- Charter school enrollment has grown among students who are in poverty, black students, and Hispanic students.
- The 11 new states added marginally to the mathematics gains seen since the 2009 study, but more so to gains in reading.
More from Stephanie Simon.
Related:One year in, Oconomowoc High School staff, students adjusting to change and May, 2012: Budget Cuts: We Won’t Be as Bold and Innovative as Oconomowoc, and That’s Okay.
A majority of Madison school board members rejected the proposed Madison Preparatory Academy IB Charter School in 2012.
Madison’s long term, disastrous reading scores.
It’s been an excellent state budget season for lousy voucher schools.
Of course, it’s been an excellent budget season for all private schools that want public financial support — statewide expansion of vouchers, tax deductions for those who pay tuition to elementary and high schools, big jumps in state payments for each voucher student a year from now, some last-minute helpful surprises.
But the lousy operators must be feeling especially good. Why? Because nothing was done to drive them to improve or stop taking state money. Come this fall, a cluster of low performing, poorly run voucher schools will still enroll thousands of kids and take millions of dollars in state money.
Even the most adamant voucher supporters agree that there are schools in Milwaukee that don’t merit public support. There is a large range of quality among the 110+ schools that take voucher students. Some are excellent, many are of average quality. And some really stand out when it comes to being bad.
Somehow, a solution that promotes quality and responsible use of public money seems off the table in Wisconsin.
I regard myself as one of the few people on Earth who has no pro or con position on vouchers. A professional obligation — I’m neutral. But I’ve followed the program closely for 15 years and visited something around 100 voucher schools. I’m not neutral when it comes to quality.
Do we apply the same governance standards to all publicly funded schools?
National Council On Teacher Quality: Teacher Prep Report, June, 2013 (PDF) and National Council On Teacher Quality: Teacher Prep Details, June, 2013 (PDF):
via a kind Wisconsin Reading Coalition email:
Earlier this week we provided a link to the teacher preparation report released by the National Council on Teacher Quality. We have pulled out the ratings for UW system schools in the areas of preparing teachers to teach early reading and struggling readers.
On the summary attachment, you can see which five schools scored zero stars for early reading, which 2 schools scored 1 star, which two schools scored 3 stars, and which school received the maximum 4 stars. You can also see which two schools scored 4 stars in the area of struggling readers, and which 10 schools received zero stars.
On the detail attachment, you can read the NCTQ comments on why each school received certain scores.
Much more on the recently released NCTQ teacher quality study, here.
Related: Teacher Training’s Low Grade.
Each year, the Board of Directors performs a formal evaluation of the Superintendent’s performance. The evaluation is based upon goals adopted by the School Board in November 2012.
These evaluation criteria focus on five areas:
Hire, Develop and Strengthen Leaders: Teacher/Principal and Central Staff evaluations; Hire quality leadership to fill vacant positions; professional development
Raising expectations and improving academic performance and opportunities of all students: narrow achievement gaps, growth for English Language Learners; implementation of Common Core State Standards;
Building relationships with selected stakeholders to connect them to our schools: Family engagement, Labor Partners and community based organizations.
Governance Team Priorities and Areas of Continuing Emphasis: Develop a plan for BEX IV and EP&O levies; a framework and process for collective bargaining; bring professional growth and Evaluation system to scale; develop community outreach for the strategic plan; develop the Equitable Access Framework; develop student support strategies; expand the transparency of district decision-making
Core Competencies: Collaboration; Getting Results, Decision Quality and Problem Solving, Integrity, Accountability, and Fiscal Responsibility
The Superintendent was evaluated based upon the agreed on evaluation criteria. The Superintendent issued a report to the Board, which is attached, detailing performance during the last year.
The District retained Robin Boehler, of Mercer Island Group, to facilitate the evaluation process. Ms. Boehler interviewed each Director, as well as the key senior staff.
The evaluation ratings of Mr. Banda were evaluated using a numeric rating system. These are the same ratings used for classified employees in the District. The ratings were made using a five point rating system with a numeric rating of five as “Outstanding”; four is described as “Exceeds Expectations”, three is described as “Meets Expectations”, two is “Below Expectations” and one is “Unsatisfactory”.
Melissa Westbrook has more.
“If you have 10 students on vouchers in your school, are the test scores for those 10 going to be used for a report card when you’ve got 200 or 300 in your school?” Lancaster said.
The Legislature has yet to introduce a bill that would bring private voucher schools into the state’s public school accountability system, though the budget requires those schools to receive report cards a year after linking to the state’s student information system.
Walker said earlier this year he hoped to sign a bill with the details before the budget passed, which won’t happen. His office didn’t respond to a request for comment.
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, said he expects legislators to make progress on a proposal this summer and pass a bill during the next fall or spring session.
Lancaster said many schools were concerned about paying $900 to sign up for the program, only to not make the top 25. Last week the Assembly addressed that concern with a budget amendment that ensures the registration fee would be reimbursed to schools that don’t make the cut.
Some schools in the rural and suburban parts of the diocese don’t expect to have large enough low-income student populations to make it into the top 25, Lancaster said.
Much more on vouchers, here.
Robert Nadler (PDF):
The list of administrators who are receiving a non-extension of contract is extensive due to the decision to move from rolling two-year contracts to straight two-year contracts and the desire to have approximately half of the administrators on odd-year contracts and half on even-year contracts. Other than the normal one-year contracted administrators, volunteers were solicited from the group of administrators who would have normally received a one-year contract extension to accept a non- extension this year and then accept a two-year contract for 2014-16. After the volunteers were accounted for, a lottery was held.
There is a group of 33 administrators in their first two years of employment with the district who are on one-year contracts. These contracts were approved in January 2013 and are not reflected on the attached lists (REVISED Appendix 000-12-5).
Deja Vu: A Focus on “Adult Employment” or the Impossibility of Governance Change in the Madison Schools.
American Enterprise Institute & Wisconsin Policy Research Institute:
For Milwaukee schools to experience widespread improvement, fundamental changes must be made from top to bottom, Hess and Carolyn Sattin-Bajaj write in “Roadmap for Education Reform in Wisconsin,” one of the project’s essays.
The eight other essays focus on:
- New schools and innovative delivery
- Rigorous quality control measures
- Opportunities for creating a recovery school district
- A comprehensive approach to talent management
- Human capital strategy
- Efficient management of financial capital
- Robust research and development efforts
- Effective governance and central management
Among the findings: Schools must be laboratories of innovation, not implementers of rigid rules and regulations; and they must do a better job of empowering their teachers to maximize their impact on students.
One reason decades of MPS “reform” have fallen short is that underlying systems, regulations, policies and practices have been difficult to eliminate or change – until now. At the end of June, for the first time in almost 50 years, the Milwaukee Public Schools will no longer be subject to collectively bargained union contracts. New powers given to the MPS school board, the approved statewide No Child Left Behind Waiver, and the significant market-share of non-traditional options puts Milwaukee in a unique position to enact positive change.
“Education leaders in city schools – traditional as well as choice and charter schools – have an opportunity here,” said Lightbourn. “But the ultimate power shaping the condition of Milwaukee schools is in the hands of the public that needs to hear a more persuasive case for both systemic and very specific change. This volume of research can help accomplish that.”
Read individual Pathway chapters here:
More, from Erin Richards: MPS needs more non-union charter schools, other reforms, report says
In the most recent release of schools data by DPI, the agency gave the information to the media ahead of time — a practice known as an embargo that gives journalists time to properly digest the data with an agreement not to publish until a certain deadline.
But DPI highlighted all the voucher students’ scores against all the Milwaukee Public Schools’ students scores, instead of separating out the scores of low-income MPS students and comparing only those to the voucher students. That data was not included in the initial release. As a result, it was not included in the stories that the media initially wrote about the results, but was addressed in follow-up stories.
The DPI said the income limit was moot because of a GOP-led law change that allowed more mixed-income children to use vouchers, meaning it was fair to compare all the students in voucher schools to all the children in public schools. Voucher advocates said DPI had an agenda and made their students’ scores appear lower than they would have been against those of only the low-income MPS students.
Other data that can be requested from DPI about voucher schools include: school policies, accreditation status, hours of instruction, the number of applications they have accepted and not accepted, their waiting list numbers, application numbers and payment amounts.
“Schools should not rely on only WKCE data to gauge progress of individual students or to determine effectiveness of programs or curriculum”.
We Californians like to think our state is the national leader in policy change and innovation, that new ideas are born here and other states follow our lead.
In one area, I am sad to say, that is not the case.
California is short-selling too many of its public school students because of education programs that inadequately prepare the next generation of teachers. A new review from the National Council on Teacher Quality that evaluates educational institutions, state by state, produced some sobering results for anyone who cares about what’s going on inside California schools of education.
Among the more disturbing findings from the institutions that provided data:
- Half of 72 programs for elementary school preparation failed the evaluation, a higher failure rate than programs in any other state.
- California’s secondary certification structure combined with inadequate coursework requirements, particularly in the sciences and social sciences, showed that only 17 percent of programs adequately prepared secondary teaching candidates in core subjects. That compared with 34 percent nationally.
- Coursework in a majority (63 percent) of California elementary programs did not mention a single strategy for teaching reading to English language learners.
- Of the 139 elementary and secondary programs that were evaluated on a four-star rating system, 33 programs earned no stars and only three earned as many as three. Not a single program earned four stars.
Related: Richard Askey: Examinations for Teachers Past and Present:
I have written about the problem in mathematics and hope that some others will use the resouces which exist to write about similar problems in other areas.
In his American Educational Research Association Presidential Address, which was published in Educational Researcher in 1986, Lee Shulman introduced the phrase “pedagogical content knowledge”. This is a mixture of content and knowing how to teach this content and is the one thing from his speech which has been picked up by the education community. However, there are a number of other points which he made which are important. Here is an early paragraph from this speech:
When A Stands for Average: Students at the UW-Madison School of Education Receive Sky-High Grades. How Smart is That?
Bob Lang, Wisconsin Legislative Fiscal Bureau (PDF):
COMMUNITY SERVICE LEVY (FUND 80)
Prohibit a district from levying more for community service activities in 2013-14 and 2014- 15 than it did in the most recent year preceding 2013-14 in which the district levied for those activities. Provide that if a district wishes to exceed the limit on the community service levy, the school board could adopt a resolution to exceed the limit by a specified amount and submit the resolution to the electors of the district for approval. Specify that the limit otherwise applicable to the district would be increased by the amount approved by a majority of those voting on the question.
Under ASA 1, a school district would be prohibited from levying more for community service activities in 2013-14 and 2014-15 than it did in 2012-13.
3. PARENTAL CHOICE PROGRAMS — STUDENT PRIORITY
Specify that under the ~xpandedchoice program outside of Milwaukee and Racine, a private school would be required to give preference to a pupil who satisfies either of the following: (a) the pupil was enrolled in a public school in the school district in the previous year and is applying to attend the school in grades 2 through 8 or 10 through 12; or (b) the pupil was not enrolled in school in the previous school year.
Under current law, choice schools must select pupils on a random basis, except that they may give preference in accepting applications to siblings of pupils selected on a random basis. Under ASA 1, schools would be allowed to give preference in accepting applications to any of the following: (a) pupils who attended the school under the choice program during the school year prior to the school year for which the application is being made; (b) siblings of pupils who attended the school during the school year prior to the school year for which the application is being made and to siblings of pupils who have been accepted to the school for the school year for which the application is being made; and (c) pupils who attended another school under a parental choice program during the school year prior to the school year for which the application is being made.
PARENTAL CHOICE PROGRAMS — RELEASE OF INFORMATION
Require DPI, when publicly releasing data related to, but not limited to, enrollment of, standardized test results for, applications submitted by, waiting lists for, and other information related to pupils participating in or seeking to participate in parental choice programs, to release the data all at the same time, uniformly, and completely. Provide that DPI may selectively release portions of the information specified above only to the following: (a) the school district or an individual school; and (b) an entity requesting the information for a specific participating school or the school district, provided that the entity is authorized to obtain official data releases for that school or the school district.
5. PARENTAL CHOICE PROGRAMS — REQUIRED CREDENTIALS FOR TEACHERS
Modify current law that specifies that a teacher in a choice school have a bachelor’s degree, to also allow a degree or educational credential higher than a bachelor’s degree, including a masters or doctorate.
Wisconsin Elementary Teacher Prep Rating Distribution
Wisconsin Secondary Teacher Prep Rating Distribution
National Council on Teacher Quality:
Highly rated programs — The undergraduate secondary program at the University of Wisconsin – Stout is on the Teacher Prep Review’s Honor Roll, earning at least three out of four possible stars. Across the country, NCTQ identified 21 elementary programs (4 percent of those rated) and 84 secondary programs (14 percent) for the Honor Roll.
Selectivity in admissions — The Review found that 32 percent of elementary and secondary programs in Wisconsin restrict admissions to the top half of the college-going population, compared to 28 percent nationwide. Countries where students consistently outperform the U.S. typically set an even higher bar, with teacher prep programs recruiting candidates from the top third of the college-going population.
Some worry that increasing admissions requirements will have a negative effect on the diversity of teacher candidates. By increasing the rigor and therefore the prestige of teacher preparation the profession will attract more talent, including talented minorities. This is not an impossible dream: 83 programs across the country earn a Strong Design designation on this standard because they are both selective and diverse, although no such programs were found in Wisconsin.
Early reading instruction — Just 25 percent of evaluated elementary programs in Wisconsin are preparing teacher candidates in effective, scientifically based reading instruction, an even lower percentage than the small minority of programs (29 percent) providing such training nationally. The state should find this especially alarming given that Wisconsin now requires elementary teacher candidates to pass one of the most rigorous tests of scientifically based reading instruction in the country.
Elementary math — A mere 19 percent of evaluated elementary programs nationwide provide strong preparation to teach elementary mathematics, training that mirrors the practices of higher performing nations such as Singapore and South Korea. 25 percent of the evaluated elementary programs in Wisconsin provide such training.
Student teaching — Of the evaluated elementary and secondary programs in Wisconsin, 58 percent entirely fail to ensure a high quality student teaching experience, in which candidates are assigned only to highly skilled teachers and receive frequent concrete feedback. 71 percent of programs across the country failed this standard.
Content preparation — None of Wisconsin’s elementary programs earn three or four stars for providing teacher candidates adequate content preparation, compared to 11 percent of elementary programs nationwide. At the high school level, 23 percent of Wisconsin secondary programs earn four stars for content preparation, compared to 35 percent nationwide. The major problem at the secondary level is that programs’ requirements for general science or general social science certifications do not ensure that candidates are prepared in the content of every subject they will be licensed to teach, since the states licensing test requirements do not provide this assurance.
Outcome data — None of the evaluated programs in Wisconsin earn four stars for collecting data on their graduates, compared to 26 percent of evaluated programs in the national sample. In the absence of state efforts to connect student achievement data to teacher preparation programs, administer surveys of graduates and employers or require administration of teacher performance assessments (TPAs), programs that fare poorly on this standard have not taken the initiative to collect any such data on their own.
Related: “Transparency Central” National Review of Education Schools and Georgia, Wisconsin Education Schools Back Out of NCTQ Review.
- Some of the education programs in Eau Claire, Platteville, River Falls, La Crosse and Madison received between two and two and a half stars.
- Other programs in Eau Claire, Green Bay, La Crosse, Madison, Milwaukee, Oshkosh, Platteville, River Falls, Stevens Point, Stout, Superior and Whitewater received between one and one and a half stars.
- About 1 in 3 teacher training programs reviewed restrict admission to the top half of the college-going population.
- About 1 in 4 elementary education programs reviewed prepare teacher candidates in effective, scientifically based reading instruction
- About 1 in 4 elementary ed programs reviewed provide strong preparation to teach elementary mathematics. That’s better than the national average of 19% of elementary education programs that offer strong math prep.
- No Wisconsin programs evaluated earned any credit for collecting data on their graduates, compared with 26% of programs that did so in the national sample.
Nationally, more than 200,000 candidates graduate from teacher preparation programs each year, then enter systems where teacher quality has long been a point of debate.
Finally, Wisconsin recently adopted Massachusett’s elementary teacher content knowledge licensing (English only, not math) requirements beginning in 2014 (MTEL).
Stephanie Banchero & Caroline Porter:
An educational curriculum that originally catered to the children of globe-trotting diplomats is making rapid inroads in K-12 public schools across the U.S., boosting test results and academic readiness even at inner-city schools.
An educational curriculum designed for the children of globetrotting diplomats is making rapid inroads in K-12 schools across the U.S., showing surprising improvements in test results and academic readiness even at inner-city schools. Caroline Porter has details.
Houston, Chicago, Tampa, Fla., and other cities are embracing the International Baccalaureate [SIS IB Link] program as a way to overhaul low-performing schools, attract middle-income families who might otherwise favor private schools, or offer more choice.
“It’s not a program for the elite,” said Samuel Sarabia, who runs the IB program for Houston Independent School District, where 10 schools have IB programs, including two where the majority of students qualify for free or reduced-price lunch. Five more low-income schools are in the midst of an IB conversion process run by the nonprofit International Baccalaureate group.
The program began in Geneva in the 1960s as a two-year high-school diploma offering for the children of diplomats and itinerant business executives. It later expanded into elementary- and middle-school programs.
Today, there are 1,651 IB programs in the U.S.–including 1,493 public schools–up from 503 in 2003. About 90% of them are in public schools, and most are aimed at U.S. students, not the children of diplomats.
Officials tout the programs’ emphasis on critical thinking. Unlike the traditional model of teachers imparting knowledge in a lecture format, IB programs emphasize individual and group projects governed by a philosophy of “international mindedness.” Students are required to take a second language.
The Madison School Board rejected the proposed Madison Preparatory IB Charter school in 2012, largely sponsored by the local Urban League.
I started out against the voucher program in Wisconsin, even organizing a letter from the Janesville School Board to our lawmakers opposing this effort. Later, I decided to research vouchers/charters and their tax credits/scholarships to understand them better. I didn’t study existing private schools, unless they were involved with vouchers.
Gov. Tommy Thompson started Wisconsin’s voucher system in 1990 in Milwaukee. It has grown, and other programs have emerged throughout the country. With thousands of voucher programs in 20 states, solid evidence for evaluation should exist. From Florida’s scholarship programs, Texas’ charter schools, Indiana and Louisiana’s charter-to-voucher adjustments, Tennessee’s Muslim question, and other adaptations, I searched for answers. Surprisingly, very little documentation of results exists, and what is available appears to be selectively picked.
Private companies and their associations have created the “mantra of choice and competition” for the impoverished, challenged and underperforming. This method focuses on the hopes and fears of parents. It also labels public schools and teachers as culprits, while ignoring social-economic factors, dwindling funding, or lack of parental involvement and responsibility.
Much more on vouchers, here.
When Gwen Moore walked into Milwaukee’s North Division High School in September 1965, she was terrified.
“North was seen as this jungle,” she explains more than 40 years later. “All black, segregated, inferior.”
Moore had wanted to attend West Division high School, a “white” school closer to home. When she tried to register at West, school officials told her she had to go to North Division. (It would be another decade before the federal courts would order the desegregation of Milwaukee’s schools.)
“My mom was in Texas at a Baptist convention, and I talked to her and said, ‘Mom, they wouldn’t let me go to West,’ ” Moore remembers.
“Gerrymandering,” her mom muttered.
“Gerry who?” Moore asked.
Much more on vouchers, here.
Kris Hundley & Kendall Taggert:
Across the nation, hundreds of charities take your donations in the name of cancer patients, dying children and homeless veterans. But the real beneficiaries are the charity founders themselves and the for-profit companies they pay to run boiler rooms that dial for dollars. To tell the stories of America’s worst charities, reporters reviewed thousands of charities and charted their finances going back a decade. These charities use deception, and in some cases outright lies, to persuade donors to give. Then they spend as much as 90 cents of every dollar raised to generate more donations. Regulators have proven powerless to stop the cycle of waste and deceit.
Retired Ripon Superintendent Richard Zimman:
The first speech was at a family dinner following that graduation ceremony 44 years ago. My father told me the most important thing to remember was to choose my career carefully. He said that I should do something I loved because 40 years is a long time doing something you don’t like or you don’t care about.
That’s Lesson #2: “Work is a 4-letter word,” my father said, “but so is the word play. Find a job that brings playful joy every day and you’ll never work a day in your life.” Not that it hasn’t had its ups and downs, but being an educator has been a labor of love for me, and I’m thankful that I followed my father’s advice. Now it’s your turn to find your own labor of love.
My mother then said, “Not so fast, young man,” as she leaned over, elbowing my father lovingly in the process. “It’s not all about enjoying yourself,” she said. “It’s not all about you–that’s selfish and useless.” She insisted, “Find something that will make the world a better place than you found it.” Although my mother was not a camper, and never saw an insect that she didn’t run from, she believed in the good camper rule. “Always leave your campsite better than you found it,” and she preached it constantly.
That’s Lesson #3: Make a positive difference for others. When you look back at your life, you won’t be proud of the money you made or the stuff you’ve accumulated or even the fun times you had for yourself. No, you’ll look back and be most proud of what you did for others. You will feel your life was worth living because you made the world a better place for others. Then, my mother told me to stop chewing with my mouth open and to save room for dessert, and the speeches were over.
I hope that Zimman stats active on education issues.