Archive for the ‘Quotable Quotes’ Category

Quotable Education Quotes: 9/29/2014

Monday, September 29th, 2014

** “The formal structures that buttress the [Common Core] standards, and the related tests from two federally funded consortia, have eroded somewhat, as states reconsider their adoptions of the standards and reject the common tests. And common-core advocates have other worries–most notably, whether states, districts, and schools have done enough to make sure the standards work well in classrooms. However, so far there is little sign and not a great deal of precedent that the states backing away from the common core, or considering doing so, will ultimately produce anything that is truly different from those standards.” ~ Andrew Ujifusa, Education Week

** “More recently, and despite initial support, the unions’ commitment to the Common Core State Standards seems to have flagged. Witness leaders’ comments, of late, suggesting that classroom standards are fine so long as they aren’t enforced and no penalties are exacted for failure to meet them.” ~ Leslie C. Francis, Democratic Washington-based consultant

** “It is not realistic to expect every single tested child in every school to score as proficient. Some of our students are very capable, but may have unique learning needs that make it difficult for them to accurately demonstrate their strengths on a standardized test.” ~ Rebecca Holcombe, Vermont Education Secretary

** “The idea that somehow you can separate improving teacher quality from the fact that resource disparities are huge is absurd. But it’s the nature of the political beast. Policymakers have been fully sold on the rhetoric that there’s more than enough money in the system already if we just spent it more efficiently.” ~ Lesli A. Maxwell, Education Week

** “The AFT and the NEA will try to forge a new relationship. Part of that is because our members, our communities, our families demand it. We’re not going to be able to fight back … unless we work shoulder to shoulder, hand in hand.” ~ Randi Weingarten, AFT president


Quotable Education Quotes: September 8, 2014

Monday, September 8th, 2014

** “The U.S. Department of Education is legally prohibited from having any control over curriculum or instruction in the nation’s public schools, but nonetheless, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is a zealous advocate of the new Common Core Standards for students’ proficiency in English and math. First, he said their critics were members of extremist groups, and he recently assailed the parents who criticize them as ‘white suburban moms who–all of a sudden, their child isn’t as brilliant as they thought they were, and their school isn’t quite as good as they thought they were.'” ~ Diane Ravitch, education historian

** “Given a political environment in which it is acceptable to portray teachers as pension grubbing takers that only work half the year and need to be fired, I’m frankly surprised that 9% of students even consider teaching. Bill Gates may decry the lack of teachers but look where he’s putting his money. Into misguided programs that seek to create ‘teacher accountability’ by incessant testing and destroying public education by turning it over to for-profit charters and private schools that mostly escape these accountability measures. The open attacks on teachers unions and teacher organizations. The Common Core is driven completely by the big corps that will profit from the profligate testing and specialized teaching materials to match.” ~ Doug Cullen

** “Though I have loved the intellectual demands and constant challenge of teaching, I would never encourage anyone I cared about to enter the profession. America, you have not supported us with the time needed to do the best we can for your children, nor the supplies, nor the policies, nor even the money for the thousands of books, pencils, and professional development I have paid for, not to mention the refusal of a living wage …” ~ Jann Geyer, educator

** “Next, people will be blaming the teachers [for test performance]. In reality, it’s our ‘not my responsibility’ society that is to blame. Today’s parents look at schools as babysitting services and expect teachers to complete the parenting process for them. If you want your kids to learn more and perform better, take some personal responsibility for their education!” ~ Mike Stevens, USA Today reader

** “Most U.S. school systems are changing their annual exams to reflect the new Common Core Standards. But schools have little experience teaching to that more challenging model. It makes no sense to assess teachers with student results on such new and inadequately understood exams. So let’s take a year off. Schools can give the new tests but use the results only for improving teaching methods, not for assessing students and teachers. U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan says this is a terrible ides. He thinks it would be bad for students and teachers …” ~ Jay Mathews, Washington Post

** “Arne Duncan brought the most ambitious reform agenda in years to the Department of Education–and a determination to use every lever of power to accomplish it. The results were stunning: In barely a year, more than 100 state laws were passed to open public schools to competition and set tough new standards for students and teachers. Duncan won allies on the right and the left, becoming one of the few Cabinet members with bipartisan support. But the agenda he began to advance in 2009 has now hit serious roadblocks, highlighting the limits of federal power over education. States are balking at reforms they pledged to implement in exchange for grants and waivers from federal law. An unprecedented $5 billion intervention in the nation’s worst schools has yielded incremental results, at best. A noisy opposition to Duncan’s reforms has emerged–and it only grew noisier this month when Duncan dissed ‘white suburban moms’ for opposing the new Common Core academic standards because the tough tests made their kids look bad. To top it off, there’s no clear evidence that Duncan’s prescriptions are boosting student achievement, though his backers say it’s still to early to tell.” ~ Stephanie Simon, Politico


Quotable Quotes: September 1, 2014

Monday, September 1st, 2014

** “Education is in something of a Catch-22. If they have standards, there will be dropouts among people who don’t want to do the work to reach the minimum levels. If they don’t have standards, they are just an assembly line and that is bad for teacher morale. Because who is going to get blamed if students don’t succeed? Teachers.” ~ News Staff,

** “For evaluations and observations to have a meaningful impact on educators and the students they teach, educators must have the personalized resources and support they need to improve practice and spur professional growth. Without this connection, evaluations are merely compliance.” ~ Chet D. Linton, CEP, School Improvement Network

** “Investing in a college degree may be more important than ever before because those who fail to do so are falling further and further behind.” ~ from a Federal Reserve Bank of New York report

** “Public opinion is split on how well the nation’s schools educate students of different abilities. In 2013, Education Next asked the public whether local schools did a good job of teaching talented students. Seventy-three percent said the local schools did ‘somewhat’ or ‘extremely’ well at the task, compared to only 45 percent who thought that was true of their capacity to teach the less-talented.” ~ Eric A. Hanushek

Quotable Education Quotes: August 25, 2014

Monday, August 25th, 2014

** “This entire accountability system that’s based on tests will crumble. It’s not a question of if. It’s a question of when.” ~ Dennis Van Roekel, president of NEA

** “I agree with the critics mostly. Testing is out of control, and the stress it causes students and teachers has absolutely no place in educational settings. Tying student test scores to teacher evaluations is both absurd and morally reprehensible. How can you hold someone accountable for something he or she did not do? Ms. Ravitch is on pretty firm ground, too: The Common Core’s drafting and implementation process did not include as many teachers as it should have, nor was it pursued in a transparent way that encouraged open discussion and reflection on the implications of adoption.” ~ Dave Powell, Gettysburg College

** “We need a secretary of education who walks our walk, and fights our fight for the tools and resources we need to help children. And we are deeply disappointed that this Department of Eduction has not lived up to that standard.” ~ Randi Weingarten, president, AFT

** “Education is in something of a Catch-22. If they have standards, there will be dropouts among people who don’t want to do the work to reach the minimum levels. If they don’t have standards, they are just an assembly line and that is bad for teacher morale. Because who is going to get blamed if students don’t succeed? Teachers.” ~ News Staff,

Quotable Education Quotes: August 18, 2014

Monday, August 18th, 2014

** “Critics wondered how a competition among states–which would create winners and losers–could create educational equity (given that winners were chosen by how slavishly they bowed to the Education Department’s reform tastes, and that the Gates Foundation spent millions of dollars helping states write contest entries). There were also questions about how ‘educational equity’ could be achieved when there wasn’t any effort to try to ameliorate the problems that students bring into schools from beyond the school walls but that nevertheless greatly impact how well they do in class. Or to change the school funding system in the United States, which is largely depending on property taxes, ensuring that poor communities have schools with fewer resources than rich ones.” ~ Valerie Strauss, Washington Post

** “If we teach reading, writing, subtraction, and addition before children are ready, they might memorize these skills, but they will not learn them. And it will not help their achievement later on. Child development experts understand that children must learn what their brains are ready to absorb. Kindergarten is supposed to set the stage for learning academic content when they are older. If they are going to push our kindergarten children to move faster, what does that say for the push for ‘educating’ Pre-K?” ~ Wendy Lecker, Hearst Connecticut Media Group

** “At prestigious schools, the majority of students come from strong backgrounds and will do well even without the [Common] core, but that is not the reality for all students. The core curriculum makes sure that all students develop the skills they need to be successful.” ~ Michael Poliakoff, American Council of Trustees and Alumni

** “Although the research community is making progress on assessment of both student learning and teacher performance, significant scientific challenges remain in creating valid and reliable measures that can control extraneous influences and minimize random error. Nevertheless, it is now possible to utilize results of student test scores, expert observation of teaching, teacher self-reflection, student-teacher evaluations, work products of students and teachers, and other indicators to address specific questions on teacher effectiveness. As the reliability and validity of such assessment systems improve, it should be possible to link aggregated results to the programs that prepare teachers.” ~ Gerardo M. Gonzalez, dean of education, Indiana University Bloomington

** “Riding what they see as a wave of anti-testing sentiment among parents, opponents of high-stakes assessments believe a strategy known as opt-out–having parents refuse to let their children take state-mandated tests–could force policymakers to take note of their cause.” ~ Karla Scoon Reid, Education Week

Quotable Education Quotes: August 10, 2014

Monday, August 11th, 2014

** “The U.S. education policy world–the entire country, for that matter–is on a quest to increase the ranks of future innovators in science and technology. Yet the programs that get funded in K-12 education do not support students who are already good at and in love with science. These students have potential for outstanding contributions, but without public investment they will not be prepared for the rigors of a scientific career. This is especially true for those without highly educated and resource-rich parents.” ~ Rena F. Subotnick, et al, Scientific American

** “Teachers, administrators, and school boards in the United States today are buried under a heavy stone block of mandates and laws. Politicians, hedge fund managers, and heirs to big-box retailing fortunes are telling educators how to create ‘world class’ schools–but their vision of ‘world class’ appears to mean chiefly high test scores and questionable notions of economic competitiveness. These same influential people are silent abut creating schools designed to give children the values, knowledge, and motivation that will enable them to form positive relationships, maintain a healthy lifestyle, participate actively in our democracy, and pursue occupations that reward them not just financially, but also spiritually and intellectually.” ~ Gene V. Glass & David C. Berliner

** “I’m exhausted. We were all exhausted. I’m going to get a nursing degree. Teaching degrees don’t get you anywhere. They’re making it really hard for people to become career teachers. They’re heading to a model where people can only teach for a few years and then they leave. I feel like I’m giving up on something I didn’t want to give up on–that I failed. The people that run our [Philadelphia] district need to know that I wanted to stay, but staying was impossible.” ~ Maria Ciancetta, former Philadelphia School District high school teacher

** “Standardized tests are unnecessary because they rarely show what we don’t already know. Ask any teacher and she can tell you which students can read and write. That telling usually comes in the form of letter grades or evaluations that break down progress on skills. So trust the teacher. Publish grade distributions. Locally publish a compilation of evaluation reports. Release a state or national report reviewed and verified by expert evaluators with legislative oversight. People will say, ‘That’s crazy! Schools will fudge results…. But people are already gaming standardized testing, sometimes criminally. And, at a basic level of competency, a grade or an evaluative report would give us as much information as we now get from standardized tests.” ~ Greg Jouriles, California h.s. science teacher

Quotable Education Quotes: August 4, 2014

Monday, August 4th, 2014

** “I think that ‘good teaching’ probably has many different dimensions. The coverage of standards-aligned content. The ability to improve other non-cognitive outcomes … These things may or may not be highly correlated. So I think that what VAMS [value-added measures] are measuring is one narrow slice of what it means to be an effective teacher.” ~ Morgan Polikoff, University of Southern California

** “Full confession: A month ago, I went online to do the practice questions for both major common-core assessment consortia–Smarter Balance and PARCC (the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers)–for her [daughter’s] grade. Many of the questions were difficult but wonderful. Others were in need of a good editor. A few, however, were flat-out wrong … Hey, everyone makes mistakes, even a multi-million-dollar testing juggernaut. But what disturbed me was that these were questions that the test companies had chosen to share with the public. It they are making mistakes like this in public, what are they doing in the privacy of my daughter’s test?” ~ Carol Lloyd, executive editor, Great Schools

** “The larger conversations about how we should redesign learning processes in light of modern technology and circumstances, and how families and communities can become an equal partner in this process, aren’t as interesting as iPads, unfortunately. When we do become as interested in learning and citizenship as we do in technology, the technology will become more effective.” ~ John Bensom

** “Teacher tenure in the U.S. is a ‘broken status quo’ in need of overhaul to balance the needs of disadvantaged students with the rights of educators.” ~ Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education


Quotable Quotes: July 28, 2014

Monday, July 28th, 2014

** “Data is the application that can transform education. Data can enable and support educators to personalize learning for individual students. Applications can use learning styles, interests, and other key pieces of information to target the areas in which students need the most help … Wisely used, it can motivate the gifted and help ensure that underachievers don’t fall through the cracks.” ~ Michael King, Global Education Industry

** “We’re just scratching the surface with our understanding of how the education sector is gathering and looking to monetize student information. We as a society need to have a very clear discussion about how we want to protect the privacy of our children in this environment.” ~ Joel R. Reidenbery, Fordham University

** “Digital citizenship shifts the way we do business and what we prepare our students for. Lots of recruiters don’t even look at resumes; they look at potential employees’ social media sites. We all have a digital footprint. We’re all connected globally.” ~ Jason Borgan, Santa Cruz County Office of Education

** From Oberlin College’s “trigger” guide for professors: “Be aware of racism, classism, sexism, heterosexism, cissexism, and other issues of privilege and oppression. Realize that all forms of violence are traumatic, and that your students have lives before and outside your classroom, experiences you may not expect or understand.” (Cissexism means hurtfully implying that most people are either male or female.) (Ableism is making persons with physical handicaps feel inferior.)

** “Right now, America’s schools are in a sprint. Forty-four states and the District of Columbia have adopted the Common Core State Standards. That means new learning benchmarks for the vast majority of the nation’s young students–millions of kids from kindergarten through high school. And, for many of them, the Core Standards will feel tougher than what they’re used to. Because they are tougher. It’s a seismic shift in education meant to better prepare kids for college, career, and the global economy. But new standards as rigorous as the Core require lots of other changes–to textbooks, lesson plans, homework assignments. In short, curriculum and the materials needed to teach it. And that’s the problem. Right now, much of that stuff just isn’t ready.” ~ Cory Turner, NPR

Quotable Education Quotes: July 20, 2014

Monday, July 21st, 2014

** “Inexperience with technology might frustrate many students taking the computerized Common Core assessments. As I recently realized after debriefing with hundreds of students who had participated in pilots of computerized assessment items, even many digital natives aren’t versed in the skills needed to take online tests, such as moving a cursor, dragging text, or even keyboarding.” ~ Kristine Gullem, education consultant

** “No, tests are not fun–but they’re necessary. Stepping on the bathroom scale can be nerve-racking, but it tells us if that exercise routine is working. Going to the dentist for a checkup every six months might be unpleasant, but it lets us know if there are cavities to address. In education, tests provide an objective measurement of how students are progressing–information that’s critical to improving public schools.” ~ Michelle Rhee, founder Students First & former D.C. schools chancellor

** “When Americans hear accurate, straightforward information about Common Core standards, they overwhelmingly support them because they recognize higher standards are an important part of helping kids succeed in college and in their careers.” ~ Karen Nussie, executive director, Collaborative for Student Success

** “More than just a buzzword among savvy educators, formative assessment is the ongoing process of collecting data on what students know or don’t know, and changing instruction accordingly. The idea is that with a clear vision of the progress each student is making, teachers can adjust their lesson plans and provide necessary interventions to improve individual achievement.” ~ Liana Heitin, Education Week

** “American schools have long focused on remediation with the goal of ensuring that all students reach basic proficiency. But just as struggling children deserve resources to help them catch up, advanced learners also deserve differentiated programming if they are to grow.” ~ Scott J. Peters, et al, University of Wisconsin

** “Two of the chief weaknesses of our current school system are its one-size-fits-all design and the fact that schools account for an average of less then 20 percent of a child’s waking hours during his or her years of school attendance. How could a system receiving children with such widely different assets and deficits–and such continuous advantages and disadvantages in the educational opportunities and obstacles presented in their personal, out-of-school lives–serve them all in the same way (same curriculum, instruction, and length of learning time) and expect similar results? If 80 percent of children’s lives are lived outside of school, and some of those children receive constant educational stimulation and enrichment in those non-school hours while others get little or none, how can a 20 percent schooling solution make up for these vast differences in opportunity?” ~Paul Reville, Harvard Graduate School

Quotable Education Quotes: July 14, 2014

Monday, July 14th, 2014

** “The American Statistical Association just slammed the high-stakes ‘value-added method’ (VAM) of evaluating teachers that has been increasingly embraced in states as part of school reform efforts. VAM purports to be able to take student standardized test scores and measure the ‘value’ a teacher adds to student learning through complicated formulas that can supposedly factor out all of the other influences and emerge with a valid assessment of how effective a participating teacher has been.

These formulas can’t actually do this with sufficient reliability and validity, but school reformers have pushed this approach and now most states use VAM as part of teacher evaluations. Because math and English test scores are available, reformers have devised bizarre implementation methods in which teachers are assessed on the test scores of students they don’t have or subjects they don’t teach. When Michelle Rhee was chancellor of D.C. public schools (2007-10), she was so enamored with using student test scores to evaluate adults that she implemented a system in which all adults in a school building, including the custodians, were in part evaluated by test scores.” ~ Valerie Strauss, Washington Post

** “Teacher evaluations were arguably the most important and far-reaching policy change to come out of Race to the Top and states are having serious trouble delivering. If this doesn’t work out, it will hurt the long-term legacy of RTTT–it’ll be another sign that the feds can get states and districts to do things, but they can’t make them to it well.” ~ Andy Smarick, Bellwether Education Partners

** “The White House this week released a report applauding the Obama administration’s $4.3 billion Race to the Top program, but it was so devoid of any actual substance that it makes you wonder why anybody thought this was a good way to promote the president’s signature education initiative … It’s no surprise that the White House would release a report that promotes what it considers the positive aspects of its signature education program, but it did so in such a nebulous way that it does give rise to the question of just how much top officials really know about the enormous skepticism that has been growing around the country among educators and parents regarding the administration’s education reforms.” ~ Valerie Strauss, Washington Post

** “A year from now, all but a handful of states will do something they’ve never done before–give exams based on one shared set of standards. In fact, more than three dozen of those states will use two shared sets of assessments, too. It’s an unprecedented level of change in a K-12 system that has long prized its ability to make curriculum and testing decisions at the state and local levels.” ~ Catherine Gewertz, Education Week

** “Inexperience with technology might frustrate many students taking the computerized Common Core assessments. As I recently realized after debriefing with hundreds of students who had participated in pilots of computerized assessment items, even many digital natives aren’t versed in the skills needed to take online tests, such as moving a cursor, dragging text, or even keyboarding.” ~ Kristine Gullem, education consultant


** “No, tests are not fun–but they’re necessary. Stepping on the bathroom scale can be nerve-racking, but it tells us if that exercise routine is working. Going to the dentist for a checkup every six months might be unpleasant, but it lets us know if there are cavities to address. In education, tests provide an objective measurement of how students are progressing–information that’s critical to improving public schools.” ~ Michelle Rhee, founder Students First & former D.C. schools chancellor


Quotable Education Quotes: July 7, 2014

Monday, July 7th, 2014

** “Reading used to mean sitting down with a book and turning pages as a story unfolded. Today it may mean sitting down with a device that offers multimedia experiences and blurs the line between books and toys. All of this has led to a major disruption in how, what, when, and where children and teens read, and there is much we don’t yet know.” ~ Benjamin Herold

** “There is a popular meme called ‘Famous Failures’ featuring quotations on overcoming rejections, failure, and loss from Micheal Jordon, Steve Jobs, Walt Disney, the Beatles, Oprah, and Albert Einstein. The message is familiar. Abundant success lies on the other end of failure. Could guiding our students through their own failures inspire the next groundbreaking physicist, talk-show star, or iPhone inventor? Possible … but not likely. Even if the results end up being a little less grandiose, I think they are just as important. Learning to fail could help our students become more resilient, self-aware, innovative, and compassionate. Not bad for a bunch of ‘failures.'” ~ Anne Sobel, Northwestern University

** “Our children deserve better than having their writing evaluated by machines whose workings are both flawed and hidden from public scrutiny. Whatever benefit current computer technology can provide emerging writers is already embodied in imperfect but useful word processors. Conversations with colleagues at MIT who know much more than I do about artificial intelligence has led me to Perelman’s Conjecture: People’s belief in the current adequacy of Automated Essay Scoring is proportional to the square of their intellectual distance from people who actually know what they’re talking about.” ~ Les Perelman, MIT

** “Their lives swirl in technology, but the nation’s high school students spend little time studying the computer science that is the basis of it all. Few are taught to write lines of code, and few take classes that delve into the workings of the Internet or explain how to create an app.” ~ Donna St. George

Quotable Education Quotes: 6/30/2014

Monday, June 30th, 2014

** “….Very few educators or parents have learning or scholarship in their hearts as the end-game for their children, except in the sense of their kids getting good grades. Most of us would prefer our children become the very best people they can be, capable of effective thinking, acting, relating, and accomplishing in whatever field they enjoy and have a passion for.” ~ Mark Prensky, author

** “Imagine attending a high school where your teachers grade you on how well you handle disappointments and failures; respond to the feelings of your peers; and adapt to different social situations. Imagine, too, that the results are tabulated in a document called a ‘character chart’ and sent home to your parents along with your report card.” ~ Jeffrey Aaron Snyder, New York Republic

** “Girls have become the gold standard. We, as parents, have decided that we need earlier reading scores. Then we’ve made kindergarten the new first grade. There is more emphasis on learning earlier and earlier. Boys just aren’t programmed like that–that’s obvious from a physical and psychological standpoint.” ~ Michael Thompson, author

** “Not every student is suited to go to college, and not every student necessarily wants to go, some education advocates say. We’ve done a disservice in this country by suggesting there’s only one path to success, which is to get a bachelor’s degree. There are many good-paying jobs available today that, quite candidly, a four-year bachelor of arts degree does not prepare them for.” ~ Mark Edwards, executive director of Opportunity Nation

Quotable Education Quotes: 6/23/2014

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

** “On Thursday, Secretary of State Arne Duncan informed Washington that he was revoking the waiver that had freed it from impossible-to-meet requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), including the quixotic mandate that 100 percent of students be proficient in reading and in math. In return for the waiver, Washington had been required to implement a number of the administration’s preferred education initiatives–and, as Duncan noted in the letter yanking the waiver, the state’s failure to pass one of the required laws, a measure tying teacher evaluations to student performance. Thus, Washington became the first state to lose its waiver. This is a stunning misuse of executive discretion.” ~ Frederick M. Hess, American Enterprise Institute

** “U.S. schools produce large numbers of high-performing science and math students (about one-third of the world’s total in science) but also very large numbers of students with low test scores that partly explain the less-than-stellar U.S. rankings in international comparisons.” ~ USA Today editorial

** “Asian and Asian-American youth are harder working because of cultural beliefs that emphasize the strong connection between effort and achievement. Studies show that Asian and Asian-American students tend to view cognitive abilities as qualities that can be developed through effort, whereas white Americans tend to view cognitive abilities as qualities that are inborn.” ~ Paul Sakuma, AP

** “Concentration, strong recall skills, evolved communication skills and being a good team player are just a few of the benefits research shows music, foreign language, and physical education have on a developing mind. To me, that list reads as one I might put together for a model employee. Shortsightedness from parents who encourage our college-age children to focus on an ’employable’ major, or cutting school funding, has long-terms implications. If we truly care about the future of our kids and our country, we will think twice before cutting programs that will dwarf their (and our) potential.”

Quotable Quotes: 2/17/2014

Monday, February 17th, 2014

** “Parents deserve to have an assessment of their child’s progress that is independent of what teachers say on report cards. I also think assessing schools with test score averages is a useful exercise. But I don’t like the current fad of rating individual teachers on their students’ scores. It is too unreliable and erratic, and poisons the team spirit that is essential if a school’s faculty is to do its best work.” ~ Jay Mathews, Washington Post

** “We hear widespread calls for outcomes we can measure and for education geared to specific employment needs, but many of today’s students will hold jobs that have not yet been invented, deploying skills not yet defined. We not only need to equip them with the ability to answer the questions relevant to the world we now inhabit; we must also enable them to interpret complexity, to adapt, and to make sense of lives they never anticipated. We need a way of teaching that encourages them to develop understanding of those different from themselves, enabling constructive collaborations across national and cultural origins and identities. In other words, we need learning that incorporates what the arts teach us.” ~ Harvard President Drew Faust and Wynton Marsalis, trumpeter & composer

** “Remember when the Pennsylvania Education Department came up with different requirements every time there was a new governor? Why is that No Child Left Behind and Common Core seem so political and have nothing to do with good education? Maybe we should focus on the families and the neighborhoods students come from and how they view education. Maybe we should spend money on special programs to help students. When you cut staff, programs, and teachers in Philadelphia and then condemn the teachers because students do not learn as well, you are being really unfair. I also see social studies and critical thinking as being overlooked; sorry for my rant.” ~ D. Todd, Subscriber

Quotable Quotes: 2/10/2014

Monday, February 10th, 2014

** “Let me get this straight: School reformers, including Arne Duncan, are alienating millions of teachers and hurting countless students and their families over a teacher evaluation policy that–using their own prize methodology (ignorant that we may believe it to be)–affects 2 to 4 percent of the achievement gap? Of course, and unfortunately, Duncan’s ignoring his own department’s research is no surprise, considering he’s doing the same by pushing merit pay even though his department announced last September that out of three approved studies of a New York performance pay program, one showed across the board negative effects on student achievement; another showed negative effects in some areas and no effect in others; and a third one showed no effect at all. And that his department has previously concluded that 90% of the elements that affect student test scores are outside the control of teachers.” ~ Larry Ferlazzo, teacher and blogger

** “Testing experts have long warned that using test scores to evaluate teachers is a bad idea, and that these formulas are subject to error, but such evaluation has become a central part of modern school reform. In the District, the evaluation of adults in the school system by test scores included everybody in a school building; until this year, that even included custodians. In some places around the country, teachers received evaluations based on test scores of students they never had. (It sounds incredible, but it’s true.)” ~ Valerie Strauss, Washington Post

** No matter who has them the ‘best ideas’ take time, energy, and resources to become reality. And in a growing number of public school communities, increasing amounts of time are being spent preparing for and taking mind-numbing tests, struggling to keep professional teachers in classrooms, and fighting to protect our schools from hostile takeovers and closure. Even as they cut the people who make it possible for kids to learn (and even just to remain safe on school grounds), districts continue to spend money on pre-packaged curricula and tests, testing-related tech products, and an expanding array of for-profit education services, all in an effort to win a so-called ‘race to the top.'” ~ Sabrina Joy Stevens, teacher turned activist

** “These two federal programs¬†[Race to the Top and Common Core], which both rely heavily on standardized testing, have produced a massive demoralization of educators; an unprecedented exodus of experienced teachers, who were replaced in many districts by young, inexperienced, low-wage teachers; the closure of many public schools, especially in poor and minority districts; the opening of thousands of privately managed charters; an increase in low-quality for-profit charter schools and low-quality online charter schools; a widespread attack on teachers’ due process rights and collective bargaining rights; the near-collapse of public education in urban districts like Detroit and Philadelphia, as public schools are replaced by privately managed charter schools; a burgeoning educational-industrial complex of testing corporations, charter chains, and technology companies that view public education as an emerging market …” ~ Diane Ravitch, Education historian

** “The education world is scrambling to avoid its own version of a full-scale meltdown when millions of students pilot new digital Common Core tests this spring. Technological hiccups, much less large-scale meltdowns, won’t do: The results of the Common Core tests will influence teachers’ and principals’ evaluations and other decisions about their jobs. Schools will be rated on the results. Students’ promotion to the next grade or graduation from high school may hinge on their scores. And the already controversial Common Core standards, designed to be tested during a new generation of sophisticated exams that go beyond multiple-choice testing, may be further dragged through the mud if there are crises.” ~ Caitlin Emma,