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Friday, January 19, 2018

Community Schools: An Evidence-Based Strategy for Equitable School Improvement

Excellent report!  You can download it here [pdf].
Community schools.  They come in all shapes and sizes
and represent, in my view, grassroots democracy at its best.
Let's lend our support to community schools.

Angela 



Community Schools: An Evidence-Based Strategy for Equitable School Improvement

This brief examines the research on community schools, with two primary emphases. First, it explores whether the 2015 federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) opens the possibility of investing in well-designed community schools to meet the educational needs of low-achieving students in high-poverty schools. And second, it provides support to school, district, and state leaders as they consider, propose, or implement a community school intervention in schools targeted for comprehensive support. The brief is drawn from a larger research review, available at https://learningpolicyinstitute.org/product/comm-schools-equitable-brief. The online research compendium can be found at https://learningpolicyinstitute.org/product/online-research-compendium.

Press Release from AFT's Randi Weingarten on Union-District Partnership in St. Louis

So great to see this step forward in St. Louis that involves a reaccreditation of St. Louis Public Schools, involving the AFT's collaboration with the school district.  This is not only a victory for public education, but potentially a model for other places throughout the country.

Sí se puede!  Yes we can!

-Angela


Posted January 10th, 2017 by American Federa...
For Release: 
Tuesday, January 10, 2017
Contact:
Andrew Crook

WASHINGTON— AFT St. Louis and its national affiliate, the American Federation of Teachers, have cheered the full reaccreditation of Saint Louis Public Schools, highlighting the collaborative work between the union and the district that set the stage for the decision.

At its meeting earlier today, the Missouri State Board of Education approved the district’s reaccreditation, 16 years after it was partially removed.

Collaborative work between the local union and the district drove the turnaround after the board stripped power from the elected school board, replacing it with a three-member appointed Special Administrative Board in 2007.

The St. Louis Plan, jointly administered by the union and the district, focused on building shared responsibility for teacher-led support for instructional change by strengthening professional learning, as well as many other collaborative steps to drive improvement in the classroom. Richard Gaines, of the SAB, was crAFT St. Louis and its national affiliate, the American Federation of Teachers, have cheered the full reaccreditation of Saint Louis Public Schools, highlighting the collaborative work between the union and the district that set the stage for the decision.

At its meeting earlier today, the Missouri State Board of Education approved the district’s reaccreditation, 16 years after it was partially removed.

Collaborative work between the local union and the district drove the turnaround after the board stripped power from the elected school board, replacing it with a three-member appointed Special Administrative Board in 2007.

The St. Louis Plan, jointly administered by the union and the district, focused on building shared responsibility for teacher-led support for instructional change by strengthening professional learning, as well as many other collaborative steps to drive improvement in the classroom. Richard Gaines, of the SAB, was critical in encouraging cooperation between the district and the union.

AFT St. Louis President Mary Armstrong, who is also an AFT vice president, said: “Today’s reaccreditation was the culmination of a joint effort between the union and the district that drove the improvements necessary to return the district to health. We worked closely for nine years with Superintendent Adams to get to this point, and while there’s still a ways to go, our kids will be the real beneficiaries.” 

AFT President Randi Weingarten said: “In St. Louis, our pioneering long-term union-district partnership showed what can be achieved for student learning when we work together, and respect and invest in the capacity of our teachers. While there is still progress to be made, the St. Louis Plan serves as a national model to strengthen public education throughout the country. I am so proud of our members and our allies who stepped up again and again—despite the obstacles—to ensure our kids have the conditions and opportunities they need to thrive.”
# # # #
The AFT represents 1.6 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.


Wednesday, January 17, 2018

USDOE Finds Texas in Violation of Special Education Children's Rights

I listen to this presentation and Dr. Martin Luther King's famous quote comes to mind: “Justice too long delayed is justice denied.”  So even the positive outcome of a scathing report of violations against children's rights in Texas is bittersweet.  How could they? How dare they?  All of this is so enraging and consistent with Bruce Lesley's recent, cogent statement titled, "The Undeclared War on Children."  I can only imagine how angry and disgusted our parents are.

That said, please listen to this brief presentation by Rachel Gandy & Steven Aleman from Disability Rights Texas (@DisRightsTx), on January 11, 2018, commenting on the release that day of an investigative report by the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) on the 8.5% Special Education enrollment cap by the Texas Education Agency (Texas' state Department of Education).

Related


The last piece by Robert Walker, in particular, provides a sense of the context and history of TEA's harmful policy.  

After interviewing parents, administrators, advocates, and reviewing records requested by the USDOE from TEA, they find that the TEA violated Individuals with Disability Education Act (IDEA) as follows:

  1. They failed to assure that all children were identified, located, and assessed to determine who might need special education services;
  2. They found that TEA violated the fundamental right to a free, appropriate, public education (FAPE).  FAPE ensures that every special education student receives an IEP, or Individualized Education Plan.
  3. TEA was also found in violation of the law to ensure that charter schools and public school districts follow federal IDEA law.
The agency must now provide corrective action, including monitoring of school districts, resulting in what will amount to more compliance across the state of Texas.

Next steps.  Texas Gov. Abbott issued a directive to the TEA to start working on a new plan immediately with a January 18, 2018 deadline.


I sure hope that this long overdue USDOE report restores harm though untold numbers—thousands of youth annually—and their parents, will have already been adversely harmed.


If you feel that your child has been "capped" and denied access to services,
contact your school and ask for a disability evaluation. I would specifically mention the U.S. DOE findings of fact titled, "Texas Part B 2017 Monitoring Visit Letter" and demand that your child be fully assessed or that issues in your school or district get assessed.


Hats off to Rachel Gandy and Steve Alemán with Disability Rights Texas for their tireless advocacy.  Now the remedy must be monitored to ensure that the TEA actually does what it is supposed to do.


Angela Valenzuela

 @DisRightsTx  #ChildWelfare #disabilities #specialneeds #TxLege #Texas #TxEd


Honored to Make it to Rick Hess' Straight Up 2018 List of Public Influencers in Education in the U.S

Wow!  I am deeply honored to make it to Rick Hess' Straight Up (RHSU) 2018 list of public influencers in education in the U.S.  I am listed has having a high rank on "syllabus" which I take to mean that my work appears on a lot of syllabi in college classrooms throughout the U.S.  Very cool. 
  
I appear to be the only person at a Texas university on the list—which is interesting unto itself. 

I'm also one of only 6 Latinas, too (my count)—and among only a few influencers of color.  We have to do something about that! 

The other 5 Latinas are Drs. Patricia Gandara, Sylvia Hurtado, Kris Gutierrez, Estela BenSimon, and Stella Flores. While these numbers need to grow, I'm happy to be in such amazing company!

I'm mostly encouraged to see all the great work that is getting done around the country. 

Thanks to Dr. Victor Saenz, my Department Chair, for alerting me to this.


Angela Valenzuela

@VictorSaenzPhD
@vlnzl
 
 

Today, we unveil the 2018 RHSU Edu-Scholar Public Influence Rankings, identifying the university-based scholars in the U.S. who are doing the most to shape educational practice and policy. Simply being included in this list of 200 scholars is an accomplishment, given the tens of thousands who might qualify. The ranked scholars include the top 150 finishers from last year, along with 50 "at-large" nominees chosen by the 31-member selection committee (see yesterday's post for a list of committee members and all the salacious methodological details).

Here are the 2018 rankings (scroll through the chart to see all names and scores, or click the link below the chart to view the table in a new tab). Please note that all university affiliations reflect a scholar's institution as of December 2017. The bottom line: This is a serious but highly imperfect attempt to nudge academe to do more to recognize and encourage scholarship which engages the real world of practice and policy.

 
Without further ado, let's get to the results. The top scorers? All are familiar edu-names, who have authored influential works and played outsized public and professional roles. Topping the rankings, once again, was Stanford University's Linda Darling-Hammond. Rounding out the top five, in order, were Harvard's Howard Gardner, U. Penn's Angela Duckworth, U. Wisconsin's Gloria Ladson-Billings, and NYU's Diane Ravitch. The rest of the top ten included Stanford's Larry Cuban, Temple's Sara Goldrick-Rab, U. Penn's Marybeth Gasman, Stanford's Jo Boaler, and the University of Virginia's Carol Ann Tomlinson.

Harvard's Dan Koretz made the biggest single leap from last year, climbing 132 spots to 20th place. His rise was fueled by the success of his much-discussed University of Chicago Press book, The Testing Charade: Pretending to Make Schools Better. Others making especially big jumps from 2017 included Harvard's Stephanie M. Jones and David J. Deming, Stanford's David F. Labaree, and Michigan State's Barbara Schneider. Also notable was Stanford's Raj Chetty debuting at 14th, on the back of his high-profile work on equality of opportunity and college mobility.

Stanford University and Harvard University had the most ranked scholars. Stanford placed six scholars in the top 20 and Harvard four. U. Penn also placed multiple scholars in the top 20. When it came to overall representation, Harvard led the way with 24 ranked scholars. Stanford was second, with 20, and Columbia was third, with 14. All told, 55 universities had at least one scholar make the cut.

A number of top scorers penned influential books of recent vintage. U. Penn's Angela Duckworth's best-seller Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance continues to do exceptionally well. A few other books that did especially well were Richard Rothstein's The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America; Harvard Dean Jim Ryan's Wait, What? And Life's Other Essential Questions; and Jo Boaler's Mindset Mathematics: Visualizing and Investigating Big Ideas.

As with any such ranking, this exercise ought to be interpreted with appropriate caveats. Given that the ratings are a snapshot, the results obviously favor scholars who published a successful book or big study last year. But that's how the world works. And that's why we do this every year.

A few scholars tended to lead the field in any given category. For those of you keeping score at home, here's some highlights:

More than 40 scholars maxed out on Google Scholar. When it came to book points, fifteen scholars maxed out, including Darling-Hammond, Gardner, Ravitch, Larry Cuban of Stanford, and Carol Ann Tomlinson of the University of Virginia. Duckworth and UC-Berkeley's Richard Rothstein finished first and second in Amazon points, with 20.0 and 19.9 respectively. Fourteen scholars maxed out on syllabus points, including Ladson-Billings, Stanford's Sam Wineburg, and UT-Austin's Angela Valenzuela.

As far as attention in the education press, Darling-Hammond, Duckworth, and Temple's Sara Goldrick-Rab topped the charts. When it came to mentions in mainstream newspapers, Goldrick-Rab took the top spot, with Stanford's Raj Chetty and U. Penn's Marybeth Gasman not far behind. In terms of web presence, over a dozen scholars received the maximum score, including Stanford's Sean Reardon, Harvard's David Deming, and Marc Lamont Hill of Temple. When it came to social media, Ravitch and Lamont Hill posted the top Klout scores for the second year in a row.

If readers want to argue the construction, reliability, or validity of the metrics, go for it. I'm not sure that I've got the measures right or how much these results can or should tell us. That said, I think the same can be said about college rankings, NFL quarterback ratings, or international scorecards of human rights. For all their imperfections, I think such efforts convey real information—and help spark useful discussion.

That's what I've sought to do here. Meanwhile, I'd welcome suggestions for possible improvements and welcome thoughts, questions, and suggestions. So, take a look, and have at it. And, don't miss Ed Week's special commentary package on the RHSU rankings—including a lively discussion of what happens when scholarly engagement in public debate ceases to be a good thing, how we can tell, and what can be done about it. Tune in to see what Wisconsin's Diana Hess, UCLA's Pedro Noguera, Seton Hall's Robert Kelchen, Arkansas' Pat Wolf, and yours truly have to say on that score.