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inkwell.vue.486 : David Berliner & Gene Glass, 50 Myths and Lies That Threaten American Public Schools.
permalink #26 of 74: jelly fish challenged (reet) Mon 14 Dec 15 19:45
    
Though he class size is awfully big.
  
inkwell.vue.486 : David Berliner & Gene Glass, 50 Myths and Lies That Threaten American Public Schools.
permalink #27 of 74: Lisa Harris (lrph) Tue 15 Dec 15 02:47
    
A subject many of us on The WELL have discussed for years is the
usefulness of homework. While it may not necessarily boost
achievement, is there any good use for homework? How did we get to
the point where some students have 2-3 hours of schoolwork after
school is out for the day?
  
inkwell.vue.486 : David Berliner & Gene Glass, 50 Myths and Lies That Threaten American Public Schools.
permalink #28 of 74: Bruce Umbaugh (bumbaugh) Tue 15 Dec 15 07:52
    
<kafclown>, that sounds like a really cool school!

Going back to <10>: "The notion that we have a whole child, not a
fractionated one, seems to be on the decline." Do we have good ways
to track progress with whole children? 

Or to put it differently, other than relying solely on the good
intentions and abilities of teachers and their administrative
bosses, and apart from fractioned testing, how do we achieve
accountability for learning? (Obviously it's a problem, or we
wouldn't be worried about devolving authority to Arizona and
Alabama, as you say.)
  
inkwell.vue.486 : David Berliner & Gene Glass, 50 Myths and Lies That Threaten American Public Schools.
permalink #29 of 74: Ted Newcomb (tcn) Tue 15 Dec 15 07:54
    <scribbled by tcn Tue 15 Dec 15 07:55>
  
inkwell.vue.486 : David Berliner & Gene Glass, 50 Myths and Lies That Threaten American Public Schools.
permalink #30 of 74: Ted Newcomb (tcn) Tue 15 Dec 15 07:56
    

Also wondering about the digital divide. As most classrooms are
discovering and using open source learning and digital tools (my
granddaughter has her own Gmail, G+, Skype accounts and uses Google
docs and drive regularly)what's being done to close the divide? Both
on the side of training teachers to implement the tools, platforms
and affordances available as well as bringing students into a
digital
literacy.

Saw this article this morning: 

http://ww2.kqed.org/mindshift/2015/12/14/what-achieving-digital-equity-using-o
nl
ine-courses-could-look-like/

My first thought was, oh a digital version of no child left behind,
but they get the problem correctly.

Federal and State money ever going to arrive at the local school
level, or are relying on the benevolence of Bill Gates and Mark
Zuckerberg?
  
inkwell.vue.486 : David Berliner & Gene Glass, 50 Myths and Lies That Threaten American Public Schools.
permalink #31 of 74: jelly fish challenged (reet) Tue 15 Dec 15 10:00
    
I ahve all the same questions! Plus, as an early education teacher (ages
3-9), I watched that early zest for discovering and learning just get
smashed by the sheer volume of homework, be it well conceived or dumb
paperwork.
  
inkwell.vue.486 : David Berliner & Gene Glass, 50 Myths and Lies That Threaten American Public Schools.
permalink #32 of 74: Lisa Harris (lrph) Tue 15 Dec 15 14:20
    
I just had a meeting with my principal about sending packets home
over winter break. I lost the battle. I am required to send home
work I know will: be busy work for the kids who will actually do it;
and not get done by the kids who could use some extra practice. The
reason it's been mandated? Because our school went down a letter
grade this past year. The reason we went down a letter grade?
Florida didn't factor in learning gains into school grades for the
first time - it was straight pass/no pass. Apparently, learning
gains aren't important if the kids who didn't make the grade last
year can't make the grade plus one more grade this year. 

I have to stop thinking about this crap and just focus on teaching
the babies.
  
inkwell.vue.486 : David Berliner & Gene Glass, 50 Myths and Lies That Threaten American Public Schools.
permalink #33 of 74: Cliff Dweller (robinsline) Tue 15 Dec 15 15:22
    
Sample vacation homework assignments for a five year old:
1. Spend one hour outside each day.
2. Sing two songs to your family.
3. Make a sandwich.
4. Ask someone to read one book with you each day. (Can be the same
book)
5. Jump up and down 100 times.
6. Draw a picture using five different colors.
7. Make five crazy faces in the mirror.
8. Spell your name out loud.
9. Try to do a handstand.
10. Look for the moon every night.
  
inkwell.vue.486 : David Berliner & Gene Glass, 50 Myths and Lies That Threaten American Public Schools.
permalink #34 of 74: Eric Rawlins (woodman) Tue 15 Dec 15 15:56
    
That's great.
  
inkwell.vue.486 : David Berliner & Gene Glass, 50 Myths and Lies That Threaten American Public Schools.
permalink #35 of 74: Lisa Harris (lrph) Tue 15 Dec 15 16:50
    
I tried that. No go. Has to be a packet of worksheets and a reading
log. ugh. If only those packets could change the socioeconomic and
ESOL status of my students. 
  
inkwell.vue.486 : David Berliner & Gene Glass, 50 Myths and Lies That Threaten American Public Schools.
permalink #36 of 74: jelly fish challenged (reet) Tue 15 Dec 15 18:30
    
>>>>learning
 gains aren't important if the kids who didn't make the grade last
 year can't make the grade plus one more grade this year

I despair. What a set-up for failure.
  
inkwell.vue.486 : David Berliner & Gene Glass, 50 Myths and Lies That Threaten American Public Schools.
permalink #37 of 74: Gary Greenberg (gberg) Wed 16 Dec 15 02:05
    
A few random observations about public school.

1. My son did not learn to read until his second time through fourth
grade. When he did, it was thanks to a couple of talented, dedicated
public school teachers, and the full-time one-on-one aide he had
(and to his parents being very tough PPT negotiators). His K-6
school has 140 kids in it, and we live in a highly unaffluent town.
So it was a burden, and I feel bad about that. But at the local
level, we are all fighting over crumbs. And we will always be
grateful to that little school and those teachers.

2. The same son ended up at technical school in ninth grade,
learnign to be a machinist. He turns out to be a talented
metalworker. But the tech schools are no longer the place you go
when your aptitudes (probably a dirty word now) are toward the
trades and away from academics. So at his tech school, there is only
a pre-college curriculum, no tracking. We assured the school that as
parents with five graduate degrees between us, it would be okay by
us if our son did not take Algebra 2. But they stood firm in their
conviction that there is no such thing as an academically untalented
kid, and that everyone has to be ready to go to college, even the
students they are training to be machinists, mechanics, electricians
and plumbers, a policy that would be funny if it weren't insane.
They did say that if he failed Alg 2 in his junior year, then in his
senior year he could take Business Math to complte his math
requirement. We contended that he probably didn't need another
academic failure to build  his character, and suggested that we just
cut to the chase and put him in business math. They refused. So we
took him out of school. We bought a homeschool curriculum, hired a
tutor, and he is now a high school graduate at age 17. He's taking
in welding and fabrication work--right now there is a truck in the
driveway on which he is replacing the spring shackles, and another
due next week to ahve a bed built. More to the point, our lives are
infinitely better now that he is not spending half his days doing
something he is not good at and his evenings fighting with us about
doing homework that we all think is pointless. ANd we will always
resent the suffering the public school system imposed on our
family--maybe even more than we will be grateful for its teaching
him to read.

3. My wife, a dedicated high school teacher for nearly 30 years, and
one of the most upbeat people I know, is demoralized in a way I have
never seen in her by the corporatized, test-driven, inhumane
environment in which she now works every day. I won't chronicle the
indignities, but suffice it to say that if she is getting bitter,
then things must be terrible out there.
  
inkwell.vue.486 : David Berliner & Gene Glass, 50 Myths and Lies That Threaten American Public Schools.
permalink #38 of 74: jelly fish challenged (reet) Wed 16 Dec 15 10:49
    
Man, does that ever illustrate exactly why treating schools like factories
is so wrong.
  
inkwell.vue.486 : David Berliner & Gene Glass, 50 Myths and Lies That Threaten American Public Schools.
permalink #39 of 74: David Berliner (guestwri) Thu 17 Dec 15 16:55
    
Dear colleagues,

Thank you all for your responses. Let me say something of a general
nature. We have well over 50 million students and a huge teaching
force and administrative staff to serve them. If an occasional
teacher or administrator acts stupidly it is terrible, but among so
many professional that has to happen occasionally. They probably do
less harm than the physicians who kill about 400,000 patients a
year, by accident. While the medical profession is killing its
patients, we complain about teachers who are not always meeting our
expectations for how they should handle our children, but probably
isn’t killing them off! Seems to me we are raising our voices over
the lesser of the two issues.

The problem for the vast majority of teachers and administrators is
the context in which they work. They are not free to practice their
profession but take their orders from distant capitols, both federal
and state.  Public education is a highly political operation. To me,
the causes of so many of its current problems lie with the
politicians throughout America  and less with the administrators and
teachers we currently have. So, when 
Gary Greenberg’s wife loses her love of the field she had chosen, is
it simple burnout, or the politicalization of her profession? When
their son is channeled into course work he is neither competent in
nor interested in, is it  the insensitive administrator's fault, or
the fault of state legislators that demand certain kinds of
accountability by the school?         Those same [now] inappropriate
administrators, 10 years previously, were the ones that helped their
son to read. Maybe not without pushing, but the school did
accommodate. 

In the last decade and a half, public schools have become much more
subject to the politicalization of education and have much less
autonomy at the school level and in turn, less autonomy the
classroom. When Lisa Harris is required to do something she does not
believe in as a professional educator, what we see is the
politicalization of the school, and her principal giving in. That
principal should be sticking her middle finger up in the air to the
folks she gets those memo’s from,  and after doing so she should
tell the teachers she believes in, “do it your way, you're the
professional.”
      
  
inkwell.vue.486 : David Berliner & Gene Glass, 50 Myths and Lies That Threaten American Public Schools.
permalink #40 of 74: David Berliner (guestwri) Thu 17 Dec 15 17:15
    
The question about selective schools is a good one. Due to the
housing patterns that have developed in the United States, we now
run an apartheid-lite system of education. Parents of any race and
any religion can live anywhere they want, provided they can afford
to do so. If there are inequalities in income by race or ethnicity,
then we see what has occurred in modern America. Wealthy people,
mostly white, live with other wealthy people, mostly white. Poor
people, often people of color and recent immigrants, live with other
people of color and recent immigrants, in the poorer neighborhoods. 

Because we have such local systems of schooling, and local
elementary schools, what we have in America is an apartheid-lite
system of schooling. Poor kids go to school with poor kids and rich
kids go to school with rich kids. This is important because, among
the most robust findings we have in educational research, is the
fact that the cohort you go to school with acts as a powerful
influence on your future. 

Is that cohort college-bound? Is that cohort happier on the streets
than in the classrooms? Do poor kids in a poor school even know how
to negotiate the applications necessary to get into college ?
Cohorts matter!

Cohorts matter and our system of housing and local schooling means
there will be considerable segregation by income and often by race
and ethnicity. So, can a school district overcome this? Parents in
the wealthy and white suburbs scream when they find their children
need to be bused across town and the children from across town are
bussed to their! local schools. This is precisely what has happened
in Wake County North Carolina. But Wake County has stayed with their
bussing system, one designed to integrate the schools by social
class..What they have done is limited poverty rates to about 40% in
every school in their system. They do a lot of busing to achieve
that maximum. As I understand it, what happened was exactly what was
hoped for. The schools now are more uniformly good, though perhaps
there are fewer excelling. On the other hand, for those of us that
care deeply about preserving our democracy, is the fact that there
seem to be few if any bad schools left in Wake County. The bussing
on the basis of family income apparently works.
 
It should also be noted that the research evidence is remarkably
consistent. When you mix academically advanced children with lower
achieving children, the lower achieving children end up doing
better, and there is no decline in the abilities of the more
academically talented children. Their growth rate and final status
in achievement seems about the same as if they had been segregated
from the lower achieving students. 
      
But when you bus to achieve social equity, or you detrack classes
inside a school so that all the children are in mixed ability
classes, you almost always get a backlash. But the fact remains that
the more advanced students are not harmed while the less advantaged
students are helped. The question for the community is whether they
will think of the greater good or worry instead about the apparent
advantage for their own children. These are very difficult social
issues to solve.

Having said all this, I'm also a fan of selective schools for
special talents. I grew up in New York. We had Stuyvesant High
School, Science sigh school, the High School of Music and Art, and
each of these let in students based only on ability. Each of them
has produced talented graduates in the arts and sciences. The
problem with the schools, however, is that if they are strictly test
based for entrance, they will only pull from certain groups.
Currently black and Hispanic students are not getting into science
High School or Stuyvesant high school at rates we would hope for.
And Asian students are getting in at rates far exceeding their 
percentage in NYC.  On the one hand, the entrance to the schools is
absolutely fair. It is test score. On the other hand, without some
concern for how to identify motivated and talented students in other
minority segments of the city, we end up with a somewhat segregated
school. 

Again, there are no easy solutions to these issues. But my thoughts
about democracy usually take precedent over thoughts about
“absolute” fairness. I'd make sure we had a sufficient number of
talented and motivated minorities being given a chance to enter
Science and Stuyvesant, and other elite institutions, public and
private, but then I’d make sure that those schools provide the
counseling and guidance needed to see that they succeed. The America
we want means some accommodations to the plight of disadvantaged
students, and not strict adherence to what appears to be “fairness.”
The supreme court is debating these issue as I write, as they sort
out the issues in the affirmative action case associated with the U
of Texas.
  
inkwell.vue.486 : David Berliner & Gene Glass, 50 Myths and Lies That Threaten American Public Schools.
permalink #41 of 74: David Berliner (guestwri) Thu 17 Dec 15 17:16
    
    To Lisa, who asks if we will reduce testing and increase
teaching time soon, my answer is yes. The fact that parents are
opting out in huge numbers will destroy the validity of the tests.
The governors are backing off of using the tests for evaluating
teachers. They don't work. Politicians are tired of fighting these
issues, and so the new law is to give a lot of responsibility back
to the states and they will give a lot of the power back to the
districts. I think a few of them will actually drop a lot of the
testing, simply to save some money, even if they believe in the
tests!.
  
inkwell.vue.486 : David Berliner & Gene Glass, 50 Myths and Lies That Threaten American Public Schools.
permalink #42 of 74: Gary Greenberg (gberg) Thu 17 Dec 15 17:26
    
>Public education is a highly political operation. To me,
the causes of so many of its current problems lie with the
politicians throughout America  and less with the administrators and
teachers we currently have.

Well, yes and no. No doubt the tech school, which is run directly by
the state (CT) and not the local districts, is taking its cues from
the legislature and the state board of education. They mandated, in
response to the obvious pressures, that technical schools should not
be the "dumping ground" for students who were not suited to academic
work. So the administrators and teachers are stuck with it, even if
privately, as they have told me off the record, they think it is a
stupid policy that will fail. And surely the ex-cops my wife's
school, which is a rural high school in northeastern CT, have hired
to strongarm students and impose military discipline on the frequent
lockdown drills are there in response to social and political
pressures that only a very brave, or very self-destructive,
administrator could stand up to.

But then again, Joel would have done just fine at the tech school
with a sufficient level of special education help. He just doesn't
learn well in a group setting. One-on-one, he gets it. But the same
politicians and administrators have mandated that if you need more
than just a little bit of special ed, you can't be at the tech
school, so you ahve to return to your home district, there to get an
education that won't even have the technical education component
that makes the whole thing something like worthwhile. So we
approached the school and offered to take over the education
ourselves. We told them that we would implement their curriculum at
home, hiring tutors at our expense, and that Joel would only attend
school during the nine-day cycles when he would be in shop. All this
required was for the principle to override the attendance
requirement, which is totally within his powers to do. He would be
educated like a homebound student, of which there are many(but
again, not at the tech schools.) The principal refused. That's not
the legislature's fault. That's an administrator who is either too
scared or too full of the kool-aid to grab a good deal (for
everyone) when he sees one. 
  
inkwell.vue.486 : David Berliner & Gene Glass, 50 Myths and Lies That Threaten American Public Schools.
permalink #43 of 74: It's all done with mirrors... (kafclown) Thu 17 Dec 15 23:05
    
Interestingly, before we lived in Chicago we lived in Yonkers which gives 
kids choices of school.  Yonkers is required to bus all students due to 
the segregated schools that were back in the 90s.

All the schools are by lottery except for 1, 
which is a gifted and talented school, and must be tested into.  The 
remaining schools all have different philosophies.  Of them, their are 
about 10 that are hard to get into, and the rest are relatively dregs 
schools with limited resources.  Not surprisingly, most of those schools 
are in poorer sections (actually near where we lived.) 

We were fortunate there, our son tested into the gifted school.  There 
were 3 classes of 30 students per grade.  The other good lottery schools 
(esp. the Montessori based) are VERY hard to get into.

In both cases, the classes are extraordinarily diverse.  In Yonkers, my 
son's class was about 1/3 white kids, 1/3 African American and 1/3 
Asian/Hispanic.  In Chicago, I'd say that his class of 34 (which are the 
top kids out of the 230 that got into first grade at Disney)  the numbers 
are about the same.
  
inkwell.vue.486 : David Berliner & Gene Glass, 50 Myths and Lies That Threaten American Public Schools.
permalink #44 of 74: Dodge (dodge1234) Thu 17 Dec 15 23:15
    
Geez. We used to have such schools so they could have small
classrooms. I guess that's a thing of the past. I'm glad I'm not a
parent now tho I despair for my grands. 
  
inkwell.vue.486 : David Berliner & Gene Glass, 50 Myths and Lies That Threaten American Public Schools.
permalink #45 of 74: Ted Newcomb (tcn) Fri 18 Dec 15 02:55
    
Caught this link this morning:

http://dianeravitch.net/2015/12/17/how-essa-changes-what-states-do/


How does ESSA change things?
  
inkwell.vue.486 : David Berliner & Gene Glass, 50 Myths and Lies That Threaten American Public Schools.
permalink #46 of 74: Bruce (bumbaugh) Fri 18 Dec 15 14:43
    
I thought the book did a nice job on Myth 10 pointing out that
teachers are not well paid in the U.S. You both compared teaching to
other jobs in this country and also to teachers' wages in other
countries.

Schools, presumably, have to be better funded in order to compensate
teachers more highly.

Can you some something about the ways that school funding works
across the country?
  
inkwell.vue.486 : David Berliner & Gene Glass, 50 Myths and Lies That Threaten American Public Schools.
permalink #47 of 74: Lisa Harris (lrph) Fri 18 Dec 15 15:00
    
It works stupidly.  Oh, did I say that out loud? One thing I know,
money comes from different sources for different purposes. A few
years ago, our district got a butt ton of money for *communication*.
We spent over 5 million dollars on a new phone system, but there
were still funds left over. Meanwhile, that same year, my kids
didn't have textbooks in science class - not enough money for
textbooks. The extra money left over from the phone system could NOT
be used for textbooks because textbooks are instructional materials,
not communication. 
  
inkwell.vue.486 : David Berliner & Gene Glass, 50 Myths and Lies That Threaten American Public Schools.
permalink #48 of 74: jelly fish challenged (reet) Fri 18 Dec 15 19:12
    
Yep, it crazy. We've had years when we were CUTTING PAPER TOWELS IN HALF
because thee was no money for what we really needed when at the same tim
there was money spent on staff retreats.
  
inkwell.vue.486 : David Berliner & Gene Glass, 50 Myths and Lies That Threaten American Public Schools.
permalink #49 of 74: Bruce (bumbaugh) Tue 22 Dec 15 14:37
    
As most places, here in Missouri property taxes figure very heavily
in making money available to educate children. The awful catch here
-- one of the awful catches -- is the "Hancock Amendment" that
limits the ability of governments to raise revenue. 

When property values decline, revenue falls. (Districts can raise
the tax *rate* to make up for this, but only to an established level
and they are typically already operating at or near that level.) So,
in 2008, schools were squeezed.

In the event that property values rebound, revenue increases. That
increase, though, is limited by the Missouri Constitution (on
account of the aforementioned amendment) in a way that typically
caps it at the Consumer Price Index. That, of course, makes it very
hard to recover to the revenue level from before a recession.

The result is that schools must go to the voters over and over for
approval to sell bonds not only for funding for capital projects
(new buildings to accommodate growth, new laboratories, ADA
compliance) but also for teacher salary increases.

Madness.
  
inkwell.vue.486 : David Berliner & Gene Glass, 50 Myths and Lies That Threaten American Public Schools.
permalink #50 of 74: David Berliner (guestwri) Tue 22 Dec 15 21:32
    
To Bruce: Others have answered. Its a mess. Money in most government
operations is catagorical: so much for this, so much for that. If
you need more for this, and less for that, you have to be highly
creative to move that money across categories. The Pentagon has that
problem, as do all the other agencies. ANd if you have money left at
the end of the year you may have to give it back, thus most federal
agencies dump money in September, before the end of the fiscal year.
States do that too. A lot of money is pushed out doors just before
the deadline. Why does it work this way? No on trusts the bureacrats
to make sensible decisions. I had that problem as dean in AZ with
state funds. Its distrust that has built this system, and some of
that may be for good reasons, but it hampers good administrators a
lot. If I were czar Id give every administrator about a 10 percent
pot of money from the budget to do as they please--conferences,
staff development, repairs that were unbudgeted, part time help for
special reasons, etc. Without any flexibility most educational
administrators are quite restricted--though the best of them
manipulate the system even with its constraints. But in AZ and some
other states the budgets are so tight that there is not a lot of
wiggle room even for the best administraors. We tie their hands and
expect miracles, but a lot of educational success comes from having
money to do some really neat things.    
  

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