Personal tools
You are here: Home Just News from Center X Teaching, Leading, and Social Justice

Teaching, Leading, and Social Justice

Just News from Center X


Teaching, Leading, and Social Justice

January 6, 2017

John Fensterwald, EdSource

The first week in January is like the first day of spring training: Everyone’s an expert on predicting what Gov. Jerry Brown will sign and veto and who’ll win the World Series. Some forecasters, though, are more clairvoyant than others. A year ago, I predicted with absolute certainty that state voters would defeat a $9 billion school construction bond (they passed it) and that the courts wouldn’t even take up the Vergara lawsuit, involving teacher protections, in 2016 (they ruled on it). More on those predictions below. Unchastened, I offer 10 K-12 issues to follow in 2017, with a forecast of what, if anything, will happen during the year. The scale ranges from 1 to 5 “Fensters,” with 1 meaning no chance, and 5 meaning highly likely. Keep one eye on Washington and the other on Sacramento this year to see if the Trump and Brown administrations are in conflict or in concert on a bunch of issues this year. There may be contentious disagreements.



Joy Resmovits, Los Angeles Times

California’s top education official has urged the state’s public schools to declare themselves “safe havens” for students who are in the country illegally. In a letter sent Wednesday to county and school district superintendents, charter school administrators and principals, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson asked them to “remind families about existing laws that protect them and their students’ records from questions about immigration status.” The letter comes in light of concerns about President-elect Donald Trump’s promises during and after the campaign to deport immigrants who are in the country illegally. In his letter, Torlakson included a link to a “safe haven” resolution passed by the Sacramento City Unified School District as an example that other districts might follow. 



Cory Turner, NPR

We all experience stress at work, no matter the job. But for teachers, the work seems to be getting harder and the stress harder to shake. A new report out this month pulls together some stark numbers on this: Forty-six percent of teachers say they feel high daily stress. That's on par with nurses and physicians. And roughly half of teachers agree with this statement: “The stress and disappointments involved in teaching at this school aren't really worth it.” It's a problem for all of us — not just these unhappy teachers. Here's why: “Between 30 and 40 percent of teachers leave the profession in their first five years,” says Mark Greenberg, a professor of human development and psychology at Penn State. And that turnover, he says, costs schools — and taxpayers — billions of dollars a year, while research (like this and this) suggests teacher burnout hurts student achievement, too.


December 16, 2016

Andrew Ujifusa, Education Week

A coalition of civil rights groups are registering their concern that education secretary nominee Betsy DeVos' track record does not square with the U.S. Department of Education's mission of "fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access" for all students. At the same time, DeVos is pushing back on the specific idea that she favors school choice at the expense of public education. In a Dec. 12 statement, the 33 groups argue that DeVos' record of support for groups opposed to LGBTQ rights, and her criticism of affirmative action policies, "demonstrate a lack of respect and appreciation for the diversity of our nation's classrooms and fail to recognize a long and pernicious history of discrimination against groups of students." And more broadly, they say her support for vouchers and opposition to "appropriate oversight" for charter schools, among other things, indicate a disregard for concerns about school segregation and raise questions about her commitment to fairness in education.


Jane Meredith Adams, EdSource

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights said it resolved nearly 100 allegations of civil rights violations – most of them alleging gender-based or disability-based discrimination – in California schools and colleges in fiscal 2016, as some conservatives signaled that aggressive civil rights enforcement under the Obama administration would be curtailed under President-elect Donald Trump. In California in fiscal year 2016, the office reached 99 resolution agreements with school districts across the state. Typically, districts resolve a case with no admission of wrongdoing and set up a plan for remedying an allegedly unfair situation. Federal investigators found that African-American and Latino students in the Lodi Unified School District were disciplined more severely than white students for similar offenses, a special-needs student from Oakland Unified School District was denied his education because of harassment and excessive punishment, and female and male athletes in the Los Angeles Unified School District must have access to comparable facilities.



Shanlon Wu, The Washington Post

A radically different legal landscape for campus sexual assaults likely awaits colleges and their students after the winter holidays. The outgoing Obama administration devoted considerable resources to raising awareness about campus sexual assaults and forcing compliance with Department of Education guidelines by opening up more than 200 investigations of schools for possible violations of Title IX – the federal law that prohibits discrimination in education on the basis of gender – over the schools’ handling of campus sexual assaults. But the incoming Trump administration is likely to rein in what many see as overly aggressive enforcement actions that have produced unfair results for accused students. Making it harder to prove campus sexual assaults by raising the burden of proof is likely to be first among the major changes coming.


December 9, 2016

Joy Resmovits, Los Angeles Times

The Los Angeles Unified School District has set up a hotline and opened “extended support sites” to respond to a high level of student anxiety about the election of Donald Trump as president. Parents and teachers learned about the new resources in a recorded call Monday from district Supt. Michelle King. She said the aim was to answer students’ questions and address their worries “about potential impact on them and their families” and “to provide you with emotional support, enrollment and attendance information and referrals to outside resources,” according to a transcript of the call provided by the district. The message was distributed in English and Spanish.


Maureen Magee, The San Diego Union-Tribune 

In response to the presidential election results, the San Diego school board passed a formal resolution Tuesday that reaffirms California’s second-largest district’s commitment to the “values of peace, tolerance and respect for multiple perspectives.” Board Vice President Richard Barrera and trustee John Lee Evans put the resolution on the agenda in response to Donald Trump’s victory, and to promote the San Diego Unified School District’s upcoming “Celebration of Light.” Similar resolutions have been passed up and down the state, including one by the Los Angeles school board last month, and a proposed resolution set to go before the Chula Vista Elementary School District board next week. San Diego’s resolution addresses uncertainties and fears raised by Trump, and suggestions by the president-elect that protections for unauthorized immigrants put in place under President Barack Obama could be scrapped.


Dana Goldstein, Slate

School-choice philanthropist Betsy DeVos is set to become Donald Trump’s secretary of education. The school choice movement that Trump has embraced is bipartisan; centrist Democrats and Republicans both tend to support public charter schools. But DeVos, a former chairwoman of the Michigan Republican Party, represents the most conservative corner of the movement. She and her husband have funded a series of efforts to turn public school funding into vouchers for students to attend private schools. They have also fought to prevent charter schools, including for-profit charter schools, from being more tightly regulated. The DeVos appointment signals that Trump is serious about the $20 billion school voucher plan he rolled out on the campaign trail. The proposal would redirect huge swaths of the federal education budget away from school districts and toward low-income parents, allowing them to spend a voucher at a public or private school of their choice, potentially including for-profit, virtual, and religious schools.


December 2, 2016

Teresa Watanabe, Los Angeles Times

The University of California announced sweeping actions Wednesday to protect its students who came into the country illegally, saying it would refuse to assist federal immigration agents, turn over confidential records without court orders or supply information for any national registry based on race, national origin or religion. “While we still do not know what policies and practices the incoming federal administration may adopt, given the many public pronouncements made during the presidential campaign and its aftermath, we felt it necessary to reaffirm that UC will act upon its deeply held conviction that all members of our community have the right to work, study, and live safely and without fear at all UC locations,” UC President Janet Napolitano said in a statement.


Joel Westheimer, CBC Player

“Now Donald Trump says he is not happy with the satirical sketch show Saturday Night Live, but viewers are loving the parodies of the American President-Elect. (Plays clip from SNL). Well for comics President-Elect Trump remains fair game and the perfect fodder for political satire. But for many teachers, Trump’s forthcoming presidency is nothing to joke about and it’s raising questions about neutrality in the classroom and the role teachers play in shaping students’ opinions. Our education columnist Joel Westheimer is here with more.”


Fermin Leal, EdSource

California’s teacher shortage is worsening, with many districts struggling to find enough qualified teachers to fill vacancies, according to a new statewide survey by the Learning Policy Institute and the California School Boards Association. Among the 211 districts that participated in the survey – about a fifth of all the state’s districts – 75 percent indicated having a shortage of qualified teachers for the current 2016-17 school year, with the greatest needs in large cities and for those seeking special education teachers. The survey findings are part of a policy brief, “California Teacher Shortages: A Persistent Problem,” that was released Wednesday. More than 80 percent of the districts that reported shortages said their shortages have grown worse compared with three years ago.


David Ingram, Reuters

A new crop of ads on New York City subway cars reads "Justice now, but justice how?" The words evoke the tone of street protests over police killings of black men across the United States during the past three years. But the ads are not a plea from civil rights activists. They are a recruiting pitch from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Manhattan. One of them reads, "If the system is ever going to change, this is the place where change will begin." John Jay is one of a number of schools that are making academic changes in the wake of the high-profile killings of black men and boys by police in recent years in places like Cleveland, Chicago, Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Ferguson, Missouri, that have fueled a debate about racial bias in the U.S. criminal justice system.


November 18, 2016

Anna M. Phillips, Los Angeles Times

The nation’s second-largest school system on Tuesday sent a message to President-elect Donald Trump: Los Angeles’ public schools will continue to be “safe zones” for students in the U.S. illegally. The Los Angeles Board of Education voted to approve a resolution reaffirming L.A. Unified’s current policy, which directs school staff members not to allow federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents onto school campuses unless their visit has been approved by the superintendent and the district’s lawyers. Board members also seconded a policy that protects the immigration information and identities of students, family members and school staff. Board members also agreed to write a joint letter to Trump “affirming the American ideals that are celebrated in Los Angeles.”


Alyson Klein, Education Week
The incoming Trump administration will likely embrace the local control sprit of the Every Student Succeeds Act—and might move to make big changes to pending regulations, predicted current and former GOP Hill staffers at a panel Monday. Trump and Company will likely “return to a more balanced federal-state partnership,” Vic Klatt, a principal at Penn Hill Group, told those at an Education Writer's Association session. “And I think the education world is going to ultimately go, 'Phew'. No more wacky changes from the federal level.” The Trump administration doesn't need to come up with a whole new framework on K-12, now that ESSA is on the books.


Abby Jackson, Business Insider
During his campaign, President-elect Donald Trump repeatedly hit at the role of federal government in education, arguing instead for increased local control of schools. He has also hinted that the Department of Education should be abolished. "A lot of people believe the Department of Education should just be eliminated. Get rid of it. If we don't eliminate it completely, we certainly need to cut its power and reach," he wrote in his book "Great Again: How to Fix Our Crippled America." The education department was created in 1979 through the Department of Education Organization Act passed by Congress. The department's main functions include administering federal assistance to schools and enforcing federal education laws.


Olivia Becker, Vice News
Teachers around the country are weighing in on the election with varying degrees of appropriateness, and some have been fired or placed on administrative leave as a result of their comments and actions on campus. A faculty member at a Florida high school was put on administrative leave after an accusation that he said “Don’t make me call Donald Trump to get you sent back to Africa” to a group of African-American students gathered in the hallway.


November 11, 2016

Andrew Ujifusa, Education Week

Republican Donald Trump, whose brash campaign for the White House included strong support for school choice and sharp denunciations of current education policy, has been elected president of the United States, the Associated Press reported early Wednesday. Trump’s victory in the presidential race leaves widespread uncertainty about what’s in store for public schools under the first Republican administration in eight years. Aside from school choice, Trump, a New York-based real estate developer, spent very little time talking about K-12 education during his campaign. And he has no track record to speak of or draw on for insights into what he may propose.


Emily Deruy, The Atlantic

I’ll be honest; I’d pre-written a piece on what a Clinton presidency might mean for education. The polls pointed in her direction and she’s been talking about children and schools for years, meaning there was plenty to mull. I’d interviewed a number of both conservative and liberal education wonks who had a general idea of what to expect and a relatively uniform belief that she would work across the aisle. Now, what happens education-wise under Donald Trump’s administration is unclear. What he’s said on the campaign trail about schools and students obviously won’t transfer directly into policy, but his words offer clues. Will Trump shutter the U.S. Education Department entirely, as he’s suggested? That seems highly unlikely, but there’s a very real chance he’ll scale back its scope drastically. Looking at the big picture, with Republicans controlling the White House, Senate, and House of Representatives, more decision-making power is likely to be transferred back to states and local governments. And Trump is likely to push what he’s called a “market-driven” approach to education. That makes civil-rights groups and many Democrats who see the federal government as something of a safety net for vulnerable low-income students and children of color nervous.


Abby Jackson, Business Insider

Donald Trump was elected 45th President of the United States of America early Wednesday morning, in what is being called one of the most stunning upsets in political history. While education policy was largely a second-tier issue during his campaign, he did unveil one detailed proposal for his education agenda in September, pledging to immediately invest $20 billion in school choice. “There's no failed policy more in need of urgent change than our government run education monopoly,” Trump said at a speech in Cleveland, Ohio. “I want every single inner-city child in America who is today trapped in a failing school to have the freedom, the civil right, to attend the school of their choice.” Trump's plan would reprioritize existing federal dollars to establish a grant to allow children living in poverty to attend whatever school they wanted. Trump argued that the voucher system would not only help impoverished children enroll at quality schools, but a free market would also improve the entire system.


Danielle Douglas-Gabriel, The Washington Post

Donald Trump’s defeat of Hillary Clinton in the election places eight years of higher-education reform under President Obama in doubt, raising questions about the direction of policies governing financial aid and for-profit colleges.

The Obama administration has enacted sweeping changes to the way the federal government provides and collects student loans, kicking banks out of the lending process and expanding a suite of repayment plans tied to income. Those moves rankled Republicans, as did a set of policies pushing tough employment and student-debt-forgiveness rules aimed at for-profit colleges. Now, advocates fear that there is nothing preventing the GOP from overturning those regulations.


November 4, 2016

Louis Freedberg and Fermin Leal, EdSource
At a time when districts across California are reporting shortages of teachers in a number of subject areas, enrollments in teacher preparation programs in California have increased for the first time in 13 years. The increase could be the result of a number of factors, including greater interest among prospective teachers in entering the profession, the success of more aggressive recruitment efforts and an abundance of job openings for teachers, especially in high-needs areas such as special education, bilingual education, and math and science. According to a new California Commission on Teacher Credentialing report, enrollments statewide increased from 18,984 in 2013-14 to 20,881 in 2014-15, a nearly 10 percent increase. Because there is a one-year lag time in publishing data, the commission does not have figures for the 2015-16 school year.

Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times
Years after a series of high-profile abuse cases, L.A. Unified still has problems resolving allegations of wrongdoing by teachers and holding down costs related to them, according to a state audit released Thursday. Last year, the district paid $12.6 million in ongoing salary to teachers who had been pulled from classrooms and at least another $3.3 million for the substitute teachers who filled in, according to the audit. While substantial, both figures were improvements over recent years.


Jill Tucker, San Francisco Chronicle

Principal Susan Ritter agonized over the decision she had to make: Should she keep four struggling new teachers on staff at San Francisco’s Balboa High School, or get rid of them at the end of the school year? The choice was difficult. If she let the probationary teachers remain, it would mean leaving the four floundering in classrooms while they headed for tenure, making it harder to remove them later if they didn’t improve. If she let them go, she would have to search for replacements amid a broad teacher shortage and probably end up with equally inexperienced educators when school started in the fall.


October 28, 2016

Valerie Strauss, The Washington Post

The Obama administration recently published long-awaited regulations for programs that prepare new K-12 teachers. The U.S. Education Department had attempted to do this several years ago, but that effort was notable for several controversies, one of them a suggestion that teacher-preparation programs be evaluated in part by the standardized test scores of the students being taught by program graduates. Now we have the final regulations — and critics of the original draft remain unsatisfied.


Theresa Harrington, EdSource

Antwan Wilson is one of only 26 African-American school district or charter superintendents in California, out of nearly 1,000 districts. As the leader of Oakland Unified, he heads up a large, diverse district and faces many of the same challenges that superintendents of other large, diverse districts must tackle around the country. One way he gets support is through Chiefs for Change, a nonprofit committed to providing a professional network for leaders like Wilson. Chiefs for Change allows members to share their experiences and expertise, while also grooming the next generation of diverse superintendents.


Jill Tucker, San Francisco Chronicle

San Francisco Unified School District teachers will gain special access to housing and antieviction services under a $300,000-a-year city and school district effort to help educators live in one of the most expensive markets in the country, officials said Tuesday. The program will offer teachers legal guidance and representation if they face eviction, a service otherwise available only to low-income residents. The Eviction Defense Collaborative will waive the income requirements for teachers needing support. The money allocated by the district and city will also pay for one-on-one counseling sessions and workshops specifically for teachers, to be held monthly at various locations across the city to help them find housing and down-payment assistance.


October 21, 2016

Alyson Klein, Education Week

More and better civics education helps kids become the type of citizens who will work against inequality in their communities that impact things like law enforcement, U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King, Jr. said at the National Press Club Wednesday. Overall, schools and colleges should take preparing students to be citizens as seriously as they take getting them ready for post-secondary education, and the workplace, King said. Voting is obviously a key part of that, said King, a former social studies teacher. But it doesn't stop there, he stressed. Students need to understand American history, the Constitution, and how government works at all levels, according to King. And they need to be able to inform themselves and understand the issues of the day, and be encouraged to volunteer in their communities.


Hanover Research, California County Superintendents Educational Services Association

In this report, Hanover Research discusses best practices in teacher recruitment at the state and local levels. The state of California is currently experiencing a teacher shortage, particularly in critical subject areas (e.g., mathematics, science, special education) and in high-need schools. Moreover, some experts believe the state will “remain at elevated levels of teacher demand for the foreseeable future.”


Chris Weller, Business Insider

Hua-Yu Sebastian Cherng was 16 years old when his 11th-grade English teacher made him give a presentation about “The Joy Luck Club,” a book about four Chinese immigrant families in San Francisco. The whole class was reading the novel, but Cherng's teacher asked him to reflect on how the book related to his own experiences. He remembers her saying, “this is a story of your people.” But Cherng's parents were from Taiwan and had immigrated years before most of the book took place. It was not at all a story of his people.


October 14, 2016

Mike Szymanski, LA School Report

Racism and stereotypes continue to plague LA Unified, and it’s up to leaders to change that, according to a UCLA professor who is holding seminars at some schools. Tyrone C. Howard, associate dean for equity and inclusion at UCLA’s Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, spoke to the Curriculum, Instruction and Educational Equity Committee on Tuesday about how he is helping principals and teachers understand how to identify underlying racism and avoid enforcing stereotypes on their students. He said that initiating this difficult dialogue is among the steps needed to help persistently low-performing students, particularly African-American and poor children.


Jane Meredith Adams, EdSource

Reginald Quartey handed in a perfectly fine paper to his English teacher at Oakland High School last year, and his teacher handed it back with a less than stellar grade. To Quartey, this was a good thing — to be seen as the thoughtful, ambitious student he is. “He saw that I was capable of turning in papers that had deeper analysis,” he said, “so he graded me tougher than most of my classmates.” For Quartey, who is 17 and on track to become the first in his family to go to college, the key mechanism for improving K-12 schools can be distilled into a single word: relationships. And how California schools find the money, time and will to support these relationships — up and down the education hierarchy — will help to determine the success of school reform, according to panelists who discussed social and emotional factors in education last week at an EdSource symposium in Oakland.


Kristoffer Kohl, Kim Farris-Berg, and Barnett Berry, Center for Teaching Quality

It’s time for America’s young people—all, not just a privileged few—to engage in deeper learning. But transforming how students learn and lead requires parallel changes in the systems that support teacher learning and leadership. This policy report, drawing on the important efforts of current Stuart Foundation grantees, frames a set of strategies to narrow the achievement gap in California by fueling the development of a teacher leadership system.


October 7, 2016

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Penn State University

Teachers play a critical role in shaping the lives of our nation’s children. Teachers not only facilitate learning, but also influence a child’s social and emotional development. Today, teaching is one of the most stressful occupations in the U.S. High levels of stress are affecting teacher health and well-being, causing teacher burnout, lack of engagement, job dissatisfaction, poor performance, and some of the highest turnover rates ever. Stress not only has negative consequences for teachers, it also results in lower achievement for students and higher costs for schools. A New York City study showed higher teacher turnover led to lower fourth and fifth grade student achievement in both math and language arts. The cost of teacher turnover is estimated to be over $7 billion per year.


Fermin Leal and Pat Maio, EdSource

Against the backdrop of a widely reported teacher shortage, most of California’s 25 largest school districts were able to fill nearly all their job openings for fully credentialed teachers by the time school started this year, according to an EdSource survey. Eight of the state’s largest districts reported having no unfilled openings. That included the state’s three largest — Los Angeles Unified, San Diego Unified and Long Beach Unified. Only five said they had 30 or more openings for fully credentialed teachers by the time the school year started. 


Alison G. Dover, Nick Henning, and Ruchi Agarwal-Rangnath, Teaching and Teacher Education

Emphases on high-stakes testing and accountability can undermine teachers' ability to use their professional expertise to respond to the localized needs of their students. For justice-oriented teachers, they also create ideological conflicts, as teachers are forced to navigate increasingly prescriptive curricular mandates. In this article, we examine how justice-oriented veteran social studies teachers in the United States use their disciplinary expertise and professional agency to respond strategically to the influence of the Common Core State Standards on their discipline. We conclude by discussing the implications for preparing candidates to teach for social justice in accountability-driven contexts.


September 30, 2016

Chris Weller, Business Insider

Year after year, Finland is ranked as one of the world leaders in education while America lags far behind. But it's not that Finland knows more about how to build effective schools than the US does. Almost all education research takes place in the US, and American schools can't seem to learn from any of it — and yet Finnish people do. According to Sahlberg, the most influential figure behind Finland's achievements in education is the American philosopher John Dewey, who is known for his seminal theories on education and psychology.


Bill Chappell, NPR

The U.S. trails Switzerland and Singapore in economic competitiveness in a new global index that finds America's infrastructure, health system and primary education all lagging. The World Economic Forum's index also notes three U.S. strengths: its large market, financial sophistication and labor efficiency. Out of 138 economies worldwide, the U.S. "does not rank in the top 10 on any of the basic requirements pillars (institutions, infrastructure, macroeconomic environment, health and primary education)," this year's Global Competitiveness Index says. The authors add that the U.S.' high ranking is supported by its "innovation, business sophistication, market size, financial market development, labor market efficiency, and higher education."


Alyson Klein, Education Week

For more than a decade, states and districts have had to consider off-the-shelf, federally prescribed interventions for many schools in which students weren't meeting expectations.

That's about to change. The new Every Student Succeeds Act, the latest revision of the nation's main K-12 education law, gives local leaders a freer hand when it comes to fixing their lowest-performing schools, those with serious dropout problems, and schools that are doing well overall but where a particular group of students might be struggling. Instead of choosing from a list of federal options as they had to do under the previous version of the law, the No Child Left Behind Act, districts and even schools will be able to cook up their own improvement strategies, as long as there is evidence to back up their approaches.


September 23, 2016

Laura Bornfreund and Stacie Goffin, Pacific Standard

Early childhood education makes a valuable contribution to society by advancing children’s learning and development, enhancing their path toward success in school and beyond. Because of this, and tied to the belief that tangible contributions, both immediate and long-term, will be forthcoming, public investments in early childhood education are rising at federal, state, and local levels. But these results won’t be achieved if we don’t also invest in the preparation of early childhood educators and the field’s development as a recognized profession — a profession that is respected for its contributions; held accountable for providing reliable quality early education; and its professionals appropriately compensated for their specialized knowledge and skills.


Nicholas Papageorge and Seth Gershenson, Brookings

Researchers, policymakers, and education professionals alike tend to agree that it is important for teachers to believe in their students and to maintain high expectations about their students’ educational attainment. This is a key motivation underlying arguments to diversify the teaching workforce. However, little research has been able to show whether or not teacher expectations actually matter for student outcomes outside of specific experimental settings. In a new IZA Discussion Paper, my co-authors and I demonstrate that teacher expectations do matter in that they have a causal impact on students’ educational attainment. We also show evidence that teacher expectations differ by racial groups in ways that put black students at a disadvantage.


Bridey Heing, The Atlantic

The United States public-education system is rife with issues and concerns, many of which are coming into sharp focus as, once again, students head back to class for another school year. In the landscape of testing, budget cuts, and the Common Core standards, it makes sense that little attention is paid to the plight of the substitute teacher. But in Substitute: Going to School with a Thousand Kids, the novelist Nicholson Baker explores the complicated place of the substitute in the larger educational picture and finds a system in woeful need of fixing. Substitute teachers are a ubiquitous part of public education. Anyone who attended a public school likely had both a favorite sub who allowed marginally more freedom than her regular teacher and a much-dreaded sub who was infuriatingly strict. They are part of the fabric of the school year, at least for the students. But for the substitutes themselves, their place in the school ecosystem is far more difficult to discern, and often they are left to fend for themselves with little preparation or (at least in busy schools) support.



September 16, 2016

Valerie Strauss, Washington Post Answer Sheet; Kevin Welner, Carol Burris, and Michelle Renée Valladares, National Education Policy Center

What does it really look like to create opportunities for all students to learn? Today we are announcing 20 schools across the nation recognized as 2016 Schools of Opportunity — the first time the designation has been awarded nationwide.  Led by researchers and school leaders at the University of Colorado Boulder’s National Education Policy Center (NEPC), this recognition provides a research-based answer to the mismatch between existing awards that recognize schools as “the best” because of their high-test scores and the schools that are actually engaging in research-proven practices. Closing the opportunity gap requires enormous thought and effort, reforming what schools do to address the unique needs of each community while always expecting and supporting engaging and challenging learning for every student.


National Education Policy Center

Advocacy groups and self-proclaimed social entrepreneurs are working aggressively to deregulate the preparation of teachers and to expand independent, alternative routes into teaching. The policy push is so powerful that it raises a real possibility that the nation may dismantle its university system of teacher education and replace much of it with independent, private programs not connected to colleges or universities. These new routes sometimes emphasize technical skills over deep, professional understanding. Accordingly, some of the new programs are very different from most teacher education programs provided by U.S. colleges and universities, which are usually grounded in core research knowledge—about the subject matter being taught as well as child and adolescent development and learning theory, all taught in the context of practice and of the students’ environment. In a brief released today, Independent Teacher Education Programs: Apocryphal Claims, Illusory Evidence, Ken Zeichner of the University of Washington reviews what is known about the quality of five of the most prominent independent teacher education programs in the U.S., including their impact on teacher quality and student learning. Zeichner is the Boeing Professor of Teacher Education at UW and is a member of the prestigious National Academy of Education. The five independent programs examined in Zeichner’s brief are: The Relay Graduate School of Education (Relay), Match Teacher Residency (MTR), High Tech High’s Internship, iTeach, and TEACH-NOW. His analysis demonstrates that claims regarding the success of such programs are not substantiated by peer-reviewed research and program evaluations.


Andrew R. Chow, New York Times

The New York City Department of Cultural Affairs is beginning an initiative to improve diversity at major New York cultural institutions by financing paid internships at those organizations. The $1 million initiative, half financed by the city and the other half by the Rockefeller Foundation, will place City University of New York students as interns at places like Carnegie Hall, MoMA PS1 and the Museum of Natural History. The program comes on the heels of a survey published this year that found the diversity in the cultural sector to be lacking. While the city’s residents are 33 percent white, according to the 2010 United States census, the cultural work force is 61.8 percent white.


September 9, 2016

Lisa Stark, PBS News Hour

Teaching is extremely difficult in urban school districts. In Chicago, for example, the city is confronting one of the worst budget crises in years, and keeping good teachers is a persistent struggle. But an intensive training program nearby is using innovative techniques that anticipate the challenges teachers will face in such demanding, diverse classrooms. Education Week’s Lisa Stark reports.


Christopher Emdin, Teachers College; Alex Lenkei, Education Week

Following multiple reports of racial violence and unrest this summer, research conducted by educator and author Christopher Emdin on race, culture, and inequality in urban America may provide guidance for teachers and school leaders seeking to reach a greater understanding with their students at the start of the new school year. Emdin knows how it feels to be an undervalued student of color in an urban school. As a young man, he attended the specialized Brooklyn Technical High School in New York City, where he felt misunderstood by his teachers and, as a result, he disengaged from academics. Now an associate professor in the department of mathematics, science, and technology at Teachers College, Columbia University, Emdin published his second book this spring. For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood ... and the Rest of Y'all Too

 (Beacon Press, 2016) is part how-to guide for classroom teachers and part critical analysis of the dynamics of race in certain school settings. As the title suggests, Emdin argues that teachers, especially white teachers, should re-examine their practice to understand the impact it can have on students whose backgrounds differ from their own. Through the use of "reality pedagogy"—his teaching philosophy grounded in the idea that empathy and respect play a critical role in student learning—Emdin believes that teacher and student can navigate their differences on an equal footing.


Morgan Winsor, ABC News

More than 550 students at a Massachusetts elementary school will have less to carry home in their backpacks this year. There will be no homework. Kelly Elementary School in Holyoke has banned homework for the year with the intention of giving students all the instruction and extra help they may need during the school day.

September 2, 2016

Valerie Strauss, Answer Sheet

What is school for? A new poll released Monday night shows that Americans are divided on the issue. And in an era when public education has been under attack, most public school parents still think highly of their children’s schools—and an overwhelming majority of Americans do not want failing schools to be closed down but would rather see them improved.



Brenda Iasevoli, Education Week

The California Supreme Court last week upheld an appellate decision rejecting key contentions in Vergara v. California, the much-watched suit that argued the state's teacher-protection laws make it nearly impossible to fire "grossly ineffective" teachers and thus pose a direct harm to students. But while the ruling put an end to the case, it's not likely to resolve the battles over teacher tenure and other teacher job protections in the state or elsewhere. The Vergara lawyers' strategy of casting tenure laws as a violation of students' constitutional rights, which won support at the trial-court level but not on appeal, has already provided a blueprint for activists and politicians intent on chipping away at teacher protections in the courts and state legislatures. That could make it more difficult for teachers' unions to put the focus back on what they see as the real problem in weeding out ineffective teachers—the more mundane issue of a lack of funding.

Madeleine Brand, KCRW; Guest: Michelle King, LAUSD

It’s not even September yet, but LA’s 650,000 public school students have already been back at their desks for two weeks. Statewide test results recently showed those students improving but still below the state average. Thirty-nine percent meet English language standards. And only 29 percent meet math standards. Black and Latino kids are doing even worse. Meanwhile, more students are enrolling in charter schools, which means less money for LAUSD. What’s the outlook for LA’s public schools?

August 26, 2016

John Fensterwald, EdSource

In a pair of split decisions with lengthy dissents, the California Supreme Court Monday voted 4-3 to decline hearing appeals of lawsuits that challenged teacher protection laws and the state’s level of funding for K-12 education. The decision in Vergara v. California gives a big victory to the state’s teachers unions — the California Teachers Association and the California Federation of Teachers — which sought to preserve the existing tenure, layoff and dismissal laws. It spelled defeat for Students Matter, a small nonprofit organization that sponsored the lawsuit and argued that the laws harmed poor and minority students who were disproportionately saddled with 1 to 3 percent of the state’s worst-performing teachers. The decision in the other case, Campaign for Quality Education v. California and Robles-Wong v. California, two lawsuits that were combined, upholds lower court rulings that found no constitutional basis for challenging the Legislature’s authority to determine what it considers sufficient school funding.


June Grasso, Bloomberg Law; Guests: Mark Paige, University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth, Kevin Welner, University of Colorado at Boulder

Mark Paige, a professor at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth, and Kevin Welner, a professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder, discuss a California Supreme Court decision, which has upheld the state’s controversial teacher tenure law. On Monday, the high court said that it would not take up a lawsuit by a group of students, who claimed that the tenure laws made it impossible to fire incompetent teachers and hurt students in poorer neighborhoods.


Madeline Will, Education Week

The path toward reaching a diverse teacher workforce is much steeper than has been previously acknowledged, a new report published by the Brookings Institution concludes. Students of color make up about half of all public school students, yet just 18 percent of teachers are of color. Efforts to increase the diversity of the teaching profession have been heralded by the U.S. Department of Education and taken up by school districts across the country. But researchers and analysts from the Brown Center on Education Policy and the National Council on Teacher Quality found that the chances of significant progress in this realm are realistically very slim, even looking forward nearly 50 years.

Valerie Strauss, Ashley Lamb-Sinclair, Answer Sheet

One of the key arguments often given for why it is important to increase the diverse of America’s teaching force is that students of color do better academically when they have teachers of color. A 2010 student titled “Diversifying the Teaching Force: An Examination of Major Arguments” found that “teachers of color use their insider knowledge about the language, culture, and life experiences of students of color to improve their academic outcomes and school experiences.” In this post, a white teacher explains why it is also important for white students to be taught by people of color. She is Ashley Lamb-Sinclair, the 2016 Kentucky Teacher of the Year.

August 19, 2016

Alex Zimmerman, The Atlantic

When Kia Turner began college, she didn’t plan on a career as a public-school teacher. “I came into college thinking I was going to go into corporate law,” said 22-year-old Turner, who graduated from Harvard this spring. But after working at an after-school program, “I kind of realized I wanted to spend my time working for kids.” So instead of heading to law school this fall, she’ll be teaching constitutional law to a group of 10th graders at Brooklyn’s Urban Assembly School for Law and Justice, one of eight recent Harvard graduates who will step into New York City classrooms as part of a teacher-preparation program launching this year. That program, Harvard Teacher Fellows, is an attempt to reshape the way young teachers are trained to enter high-needs schools, and to avoid the pitfalls associated with asking inexperienced teachers to quickly take on the responsibilities of seasoned educators.



Peter Balonon-Rosen, NPR

As Ayana Coles gazes at the 20 teachers gathered in her classroom, she knows the conversation could get uncomfortable. And she's prepared. "We are going to experience discomfort — well, we may or may not experience it — but if we have it that's OK," says Coles, a third-grade teacher at Eagle Creek Elementary School in Indianapolis. Coles is black, one of just four teachers of color among Eagle Creek Elementary's 37 staff. Throughout last year she gathered co-workers in her classroom for after-school discussions about race. Her goal? Create a common understanding of race and power, with hopes that teachers acknowledge, then address, how that plays out in the school. Coles says her son's schools have left him behind. That he's been suspended for minor reasons. That his teachers have never really connected with him. She wants teachers here to do better. First, that means exploring often-taboo topics: race, power and teachers' biases.



Kate Stoltzfus, Education Week

At a time when regional teacher shortages and high turnover rates are rife in school systems, a new report by the Economic Policy Institute may offer some explanation: The gap between U.S. teachers' pay and that of comparable workers is greater than ever before.

August 12, 2016

Press Play with Madeleine Brand, KCRW; Guests: Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times; John Rogers, UCLA

LAUSD Superintendent Michelle King gave her first state-of-the-district address Monday morning. She touted the highest graduation rate ever for the district, but education advocates question whether the numbers are inflated. King also talked about expanding arts education, language and technology in classrooms, but she talked less about how the district would go about accomplishing these goals. And meanwhile, one group is suing LAUSD over how it spent $450 million set aside for high-need students.


Madeline Will, Education Week

Twenty years after the nonprofit National Commission on Teaching and America's Future released a report that pushed teaching to the forefront of the education-policy landscape, a new report seeks to revitalize the national discussion around teacher quality. "What Matters Now: A Call to Action," released at a forum in the nation's capital today, offers several policy and practice recommendations to support and improve teaching and learning, while also serving as a retrospective of the teaching profession following the 1996 report, "What Matters Most: Teaching for America's Future." 


Alisha Kirby, Cabinet Report

Racial tensions have been stoked on the campaign trail in recent months, highlighting the need for districts to bring in school officials with ethnic and racial backgrounds as diverse as the students they serve. Often framed as a conversation surrounding a lack of diversity among incoming teachers, surveys from the American Association of School Administrators find the issue extends to those in the district office as well, where only 4 percent to 6 percent of all superintendents are people of color.

August 5, 2016

Emmanuel Felton, Hechinger Report

After playing defense for the better part of two decades, the presidents of the nation’s two teachers unions took the stage at the Democratic National Convention along with other union leaders to speak to Hillary Clinton’s labor bone fides. The two union presidents were some of the earliest and fiercest supporters of Clinton’s presidential bid, and in a speech on the opening night of the convention, American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten talked about what she hopes they’ll get in return.


Andrew Ujifusa, Education Week

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, in her historic acceptance speech here Thursday, pledged to provide broader access to a quality education, praised teachers in the course of attacking her GOP rival Donald Trump, and highlighted her past work on behalf of students with disabilities. Her speech was light on K-12 policy specifics, in keeping with a Democratic National Convention that has largely bypassed substantive education talk in favor of more general rhetoric. And she also leaned on language often used by the teachers' unions, some of her staunchest and earliest allies. 


Rachel Cohen, American Prospect

Political and legal battles surrounding teacher tenure and seniority have been raging in California over the past couple of years. In 2014, in Vergara v. California, a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge ruled that a variety of teacher job protections worked together to violate students’ constitutional right to an equal education. This past spring, in a 3–0 decision, the California Court of Appeals threw this ruling out. The American Prospect’s Rachel Cohen interviewed Jesse Rothstein, the former chief economist at the U.S. Department of Labor and a current public policy and economics professor at the University of California, Berkeley, who testified during the Vergara trials in defense of California’s teacher tenure and seniority statutes. 


Valerie Strauss, Answer Sheet

Muriel Bowser, the mayor of Washington D.C., is in the market for a new leader of the city’s public school system. The current occupant of the job, Kaya Henderson, is leaving in a few months and Bowser has launched a nationwide search for a successor. Who and what should she be looking for? Someone from inside the district? Outside? In this post, education historian Larry Cuban looks at the historical trends of district leadership — and offers the D.C. mayor some advice about how to make a solid decision.

July 29, 2016

Michael Stratford, Politico
Hillary Clinton’s vice presidential pick has been active in Congress on education issues, particularly when it comes to career and technical education. He’s been pushing to expand federal student loans for some career education programs, has worked on a rewrite of the Perkins Act, and founded and co-chairs the Senate career and technical education caucus.

Stephen Sawchuk, Education Week
In the deluge of news from the Republican and Democratic National Conventions, which featured a starring role for the heads of both of the national teachers' unions, it's easy to forget that both the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers held their own internal political conventions this past summer. If you missed them at the time, here's your chance to get up to speed on all the details.

John Fensterwald, EdSource
To better compete in a time of shortage, a handful of districts have negotiated changes in their pay scales that are making it easier to recruit veteran teachers. Doing so isn’t adding to the overall teacher supply or winning friends in neighboring districts. But it is helping some districts solve a personnel crunch as well as provide broader job opportunities for experienced teachers.


July 22, 2016

Eric Weddle and Claire McInerny, NPR
Tonight is the night Indiana Gov. Mike Pence will take the stage in Cleveland at the 2016 Republican National Convention. He is now, officially, the vice-presidential running mate of Republican nominee Donald Trump. But before that happens, we want to take a dive into Pence's education policies in the nearly four years he's been the governor of Indiana. Just how much does he have in common with Donald Trump when it comes to schools and education? Definitely not nothing. Let's take a look.

Emily Richmond, The Atlantic
Although he’s almost a decade shy of the voting age, Micah St. George has a message he’s anxious to deliver to the Republican National Committee: Please don’t nominate Donald Trump for president. A soon-to-be fourth grader in Newton, Massachusetts, Micah is the co-founder of Kids Against Trump, a group that started with a paper petition passed around the playground at Angier Elementary, a K-6 school in a bucolic suburb just west of Boston. The idea for the petition started in February after some of Trump’s speeches. The candidate’s words troubled Micah on two levels. First of all, there were Trump’s disparaging comments about women, Muslims, and immigrants. Micah was adopted from Guatemala as an infant, and he has two moms. So it felt to Micah like Trump was attacking his family and friends.

Cindy Carcamo, Los Angeles Times
Gaspar Marcos stepped off the 720 bus into early-morning darkness in MacArthur Park after the end of an eight-hour shift of scrubbing dishes in a Westwood restaurant. He walked toward his apartment, past laundromats fortified with iron bars and scrawled with graffiti, shuttered stores that sold knockoffs and a cook staffing a taco cart in eerie desolation. Around 3 a.m., he collapsed into a twin bed in a room he rents from a family. Five hours later, he slid into his desk at Belmont High School, just before the bell rang. The 18-year-old sophomore rubbed his eyes and fixed his gaze on an algebra equation. Minutes ticked by, and others straggled into the class, nine in all. Like Marcos, most had worked a full shift the night before — sewing clothes, cooking in restaurants, painting homes. Most were immigrants from Central America, part of several waves of more than 100,000 who arrived as children in the U.S. in the past five years without parents, often after perilous journeys.

Hayley Glatter, The Atlantic
If the Chicago social-studies teacher Gregory Michie waits for a textbook to teach his students about the Black Lives Matter movement, the first seventh-graders to hear the lesson won’t be born for another seven years.

July 15, 2016

Trakela Small, Valerie Strauss, Answer Sheet

There are plenty of resources available for educators and parents to help them engage young people in conversations about race, racism and police violence. I published such a list this week, which you can find here. But this post is about a mindset in too many schools where the adults don’t want to engage students in discussions about such sensitive issues — even though many educators believe it is as important as anything else kids learn in school. This is a personal story by Trakela Small, an English teacher who has worked at private, public and charter schools for the past six years. She recently became an administrator at a charter school. She says her passion for social justice led into the field of education — and keeps her there. This article, which was originally published on the Educator’s Room blog here and which I have permission to republish, speaks specifically to the deaths of a number of black men at the hands of white police officers.


Valerie Strauss, Answer Sheet

Teaching Tolerance was founded in 1991 as a project of the Southern Poverty Law Center and is dedicated to reducing prejudice and supporting equitable school experiences for all children in America. It provides free educational materials, and its magazine is sent to nearly every school in the country. Teaching Tolerance materials have won two Oscars, an Emmy and dozens of REVERE Awards from the Association of American Publishers. Below is a list of resources that teachers and parents can use to help educate children about race, racism and police violence at a time when the country is reeling from a string of killings of black men at the hands of police in cities across the country, as well as the killing of five white police officers by a black gunman in Dallas. Anyone can access the program’s website here. It is reprinted with permission of Teaching Tolerance.



Sonali Kohli, Los Angeles Times

It’s hard to be an effective politician when your vote doesn’t even count. Karen Calderon has a plan for that. The newest Los Angeles Unified School District student board member — elected by other high school student leaders in the district — will have a voice at school board meetings. At 16, she will be able to put items on the agenda up for discussion at meetings, comment and vote. But her vote is just advisory, so it doesn’t factor into decision-making. “That was something that really really concerned me,” Karen said. “We don’t have the resources to truly analyze every single piece that goes before the board.” So she plans to dig into the issues she cares about — financial literacy, access to better drinking water, rigorous graduation standards — before board meetings. To make her voice count, she wants to talk to board members when they're making the decisions. It’s a strategy that Steve Zimmer, the (adult) board president himself, applauds.


July 8, 2016

Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times

Steve Zimmer will serve a second year as the Los Angeles Board of Education’s president after the panel voted 7-0 Wednesday to keep him in office. The president has no greater authority than the other six elected board members, but can assert considerable influence. The president often serves as a public representative of the nation’s second-largest school system and manages the board’s public and closed-door meetings.


Catherine Gewertz, Education Week

High school students are becoming less and less interested in becoming teachers, a trend that's picking up speed at an "alarming" rate, the ACT said Wednesday.

An ACT survey of high school graduates who took its college-entrance exam shows that in the class of 2015, only 4 percent said they planned to become teachers, counselors, or administrators. 


Geoff Marietta, Chad d’Entremont, Emily E. Murphy

If you learned there was an intervention to improve student outcomes that worked for nearly all children across communities, what would stop you from using it? This intervention has closed learning gaps, both in urban communities serving predominantly low-income minority students and in isolated rural areas with large numbers of white and Native American students living in poverty. It has worked in suburban, urban, and rural settings with white, African-American, Hispanic, Native American, Asian, and multi-racial students. That intervention is collaboration.



July 1, 2016

Emily Richmond, The Atlantic
Whether the Democrats’ sit-in on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives to protest congressional inaction on gun-control legislation was a publicity stunt or a tipping point remains to be seen. But the episode last week could serve as a teachable moment for the nation’s schoolchildren—and future voters.

John Fensterwald, EdSource
Determining that a less ambitious approach to reform has a better chance to succeed, Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla, D-Concord, has scaled back a sweeping bill addressing teacher protections that are the focus in the Vergara v. State of California lawsuit.

Louis Freedberg, EdSource
In one of the last acts of the current term, the U.S. Supreme Court denied a petition from plaintiffs in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association to rehear the case that the court had already ruled on in a 4-4-opinion in March.

Peter Jamison and Howard Blume Los Angeles Times
Charter school founder Steve Barr on Monday filed papers to run for Los Angeles mayor, launching a long-shot candidacy that could reshape the dynamics of incumbent Mayor Eric Garcetti’s reelection bid by drawing voters’ attention to the city’s struggling school system.


June 24, 2016

Melinda D. Anderson, The Atlantic
Nancy Gutierrez was primed to shine. As the new principal at Fischer Middle School in East San Jose, California, it was more than a new job for Gutierrez, it was a homecoming. She was a product of the heavily Mexican American, working-class, and immigrant community, and her mom still lived just a few blocks from the school in Northern California. “I grew up going to the same bodega on the corner as they did,” Gutierrez said, speaking of her students and their families. “I wasn’t someone who … had these expectations and didn’t know who the community was.”
  Catherine Cray, Boston Magazine
The Boston Public Schools’ teaching staff does not adequately reflect the diversity of its student body—and the kids are noticing. “I’ve had students say to me, ‘Miss, why don’t I have teachers of color in my school, or in my English class, or in my math class?” Jane Skelton shares. Skelton is the head coach for the Women Educators of Color (WEOC) Executive Coaching Program, a recently announced initiative that seeks to engage and retain female educators of color.
  Nassim Elbardouh, Rethinking Schools
Like many, I watched in shock as the terror attacks unfolded in Paris last November. ISIS, the same group that had killed 43 innocent people in a double suicide bombing in Lebanon the day before, was now attacking Parisians. I checked Facebook to see if my Parisian friends were safe and noticed two things: First, several friends had messaged me to ask if my friends in Paris were safe (I lived there in 2008). Second, there was a feature enabled called the Facebook Safety Check that lets users mark themselves “safe” after an attack, earthquake, or other disaster. I was relieved to know that my friends were OK, but I also felt the weight of the questions that followed in my mind: Why didn’t my family have access to the same safety feature following the bombing in Lebanon? Are some lives more worthy of mourning?

June 17, 2016

Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times

Sebastian, who goes by one name, takes issue with the new teacher evaluation system in Los Angeles. Her rating has declined, unfairly in her view. The San Pedro High teacher is hardly the only one with concerns. Some see the observation-based system — negotiated by the district and unions — as too friendly toward teachers. Others say it's too cumbersome or too reliant on principals with limited expertise.


Elissa Nadworny, NPR

Why would she teach preschool when she could make a heck of a lot more money teaching kindergarten? It's a question I've heard over and over again reporting on education. In some places, we pay early childhood teachers less than fast-food workers, less than tree trimmers. As a country, we've acknowledged the importance of early learning and yet, when you look at what we pay those educators, it doesn't add up.


Ann M. Simmons, Los Angeles Times

School doors have been slammed on millions of children worldwide because of discriminatory laws and practices and the failure of governments to make sure would-be students get an education, according to a Human Rights Watch report released Friday. Nearly 124 million children and adolescents, most of them between the ages of 6 and 15, are not attending school, the report concludes, citing information from the UNESCO Institute for Statistics.


June 10, 2016

Kyle Stokes, KPCC

Only a few years ago, the Los Angeles Unified School District's system for evaluating teachers' job performance was the subject of legal disputes, full-blown lawsuits and bitter fractious debate between district leaders and the teachers union. Not anymore. Last weekend, the rank-and-file of United Teachers Los Angeles overwhelmingly approved new contract terms for a teacher evaluation system — and unlike in the past, both sides agreed the talks had gone smoothly.


Norman E. Rosenthal, The New York Times

Closing the so-called achievement gap between poor inner-city children and their more affluent suburban counterparts is among the biggest challenges for education reformers. The success of some schools’ efforts suggests that meditation might significantly improve children’s school performance—and help close that gap.


June 3, 2016

Keffrelyn Brown and Lorena German, The Hechinger Report

A litany of recent events link supporters of presidential hopeful Donald Trump to racist, sometimes violent, behavior at political rallies. Is it possible to teach in a way that people will not be violent toward one another? How do we begin to undo racism and future oppression through the classroom experience? One answer is critical teachers of color — a step beyond mere cultural competency. As teachers of color who have taught in school settings with a student population that is majority of color, we know the power of working with students racially and ethnically diverse students in urban areas. It is important students see themselves in their teachers.


Ariel Tichnor-Wagner, Hillary Parkhouse, Jocelyn Glazier, and Jessie Montana Cain, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Education Policy Analysis Archives

Educators today must be able to respond to the needs of an increasingly diverse student body and to teach all students the knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed for civic participation in a globalized, pluralist society. While state departments of education and national teacher organizations have begun to adopt global awareness in their teaching standards and evaluation tools, there is a need for educators to understand what globally competent teachers actually do in classrooms across subject areas and grade levels. This qualitative, multiple case study explores the signature pedagogies (Shulman, 2005) of 10 in-service teachers in one southeastern state who teach for global competence in math, music, science, English, social studies, and language classes across elementary, middle, and high schools. We found three signature pedagogies that characterized globally competent teaching practices across participants: 1) intentional integration of global topics and multiple perspectives into and across the standard curriculum; 2) ongoing authentic engagement with global issues; and 3) connecting teachers’ global experiences, students’ global experiences, and the curriculum. These signature pedagogies provide visions of possibility for concrete practices teachers can adapt to infuse global citizenship education into their own contexts and for policies that school districts and teacher education programs can consider in preparing and supporting teachers in this work.


May 27, 2016

Louis Freedberg and John Fensterwald, EdSource

A small item in Gov. Jerry Brown’s May revision of California’s $122 billion budget for the coming fiscal year touches at the core of how the state prepares most of its teachers. Brown is proposing to spend $10 million in the form of $250,000 grants to encourage expansion of what are called “integrated” or “blended” preparation programs that allow undergraduates to earn their teaching credential by the time they graduate.


Linda Darling-Hammond and Steve Barr, EdSource

This was a year of good news and bad news in California’s schools. Faster-than-expected infusions of new funding under the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) allowed many districts to replace teachers and programs lost during the Great Recession. However, as the school year opened last August, districts around California scrambled to hire qualified teachers and many came up short. About one-third of the credentials issued by the California Teacher Credentialing Commission this past year were for teachers on the equivalent of emergency permits, who lacked training for their assignments and were not in any structured preparation program.


Joy Resmovits, Los Angeles Times

The fight over teacher tenure in California continues. On Tuesday, former students who sued over the issue asked the state Supreme Court to hear their appeal of the judicially whipsawed Vergara v. California case. Meanwhile lawmakers have introduced legislation that one opponent has labeled "Vergara Lite" to change the way California's educators are hired and fired.

May 20, 2016

John King, The Washington Post

One of my top priorities as education secretary is to help our public schools serve the needs of our increasingly diverse students so that they have the opportunity to pursue the American dream and use their talents to help our nation tackle some of its most difficult problems. To achieve this goal, we need a teaching force that is as diverse as our students. More and more research shows that diversity isn’t just a nicety — it’s a real contributor to better outcomes in our schools, workplaces and communities. But while students of color are now a majority in our schools, teachers of color make up only 18 percent of their faculties. Unless we do something as a country, demographic projections show that this mismatch is likely to get worse.

Jill Tucker, San Francisco Chronicle

The taxpayer-supported Teach for America program, which supplies enthusiastic if inexperienced teachers to thousands of schools in lower-income areas across the country, has fallen out of favor in San Francisco. The city’s school board made clear this week that staffing some of the city’s neediest classrooms with recent college graduates who are on a two-year teaching stint and with just five weeks of training is no longer acceptable.


Jackie Mader, The Hechinger Report

It was almost the end of first period at Bret Harte Middle School when the five superintendents descended on math class. Dressed in suits and armed with pens, notebooks, and laptops, the superintendents had one specific goal as they fanned out across the classroom, interacting with students: to look for evidence that a geometry lesson was aligned to the new state math standards.

May 13, 2016

Madeline Will, Education Week

The teacher pipeline is riddled with holes when it comes to diversity in the profession, a new U.S. Department of Education report finds. Full-service and pre-service teachers of color are falling out at every stage of the pipeline, according to the report on "The State of Racial Diversity in the Educator Workforce

," which was released today to coincide with the department's National Summit on Teacher Diversity.


Valerie Strauss, Answer Sheet; Carol Burris, Network for Public Education

The previous post reports the news that a judge in New York has ruled in favor of a master teacher who went to court to challenge the validity of her evaluation. You can read it here

. The following post explains what the ruling means and why it matters to more than Sheri Lederman, the teacher who filed the suit in an effort to challenge not only her own evaluation but assessment systems that use “value-added modeling,” or VAM, which purports to be able to use student standardized test scores to determine the “value” of a teacher while factoring out every other influence on a student (including, for example, hunger, sickness, and stress).


Andrew Ujifusa, Education Week

Education researcher Linda Darling-Hammond and former Republican presidential hopeful Ben Carson are the most likely picks to be U.S. Secretary of Education for White House candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, respectively, according to an "Education Insiders" survey by Whiteboard Advisors released Monday. And who's second on the list for Clinton? American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten, say these insiders.

May 6, 2016

Saa’un P. Bell, Californians for Justice

Each and everyone one of us can recall that one teacher that changed our lives. Teachers that inspired us, taught us to pursue our passions and aspirations. On Teacher’s Appreciation Day, Californians for Justice student leaders are honoring ten educators that are closing the Belief Gap and making sure that all students, regardless of their background, have the opportunity to reach their highest potential.


Andre Perry, The Hechinger Report

If we are to improve educational outcomes among low-income students of color, then it’s not just the black students who need black teachers; it’s white students too. We regularly extol the benefits of black and brown teachers on the students who look like them. But undoing the racism that stifles achievement requires something more. Better teaching should be aimed at the source of schooling problems – future policy makers.


Craig Clough, LA School Report

About 200 parents, students and teachers rallied Wednesday morning outside Castelar Street Elementary School in Chinatown as part of a “walk-in” calling for lower class sizes at LA Unified, increased staffing and more accountability for Prop. 39, the law that gives charter schools the right to use empty class space at district schools through a process called “co-location.”


John McDonald, UCLA Newsroom

UCLA and Horace Mann Middle School in South Los Angeles are joining together to offer the Mann-UCLA Summer Institute, a suite of summer programs to be held at the middle school to boost educational success and opportunities for its students.

April 29, 2016

P.L. Thomas, Furman University; National Education Policy Center

Kassie Benjamin offers a powerful confession at Jose Vilson’s blog. Benjamin—like many educators including myself—became an educator firmly holding to the belief that education is the great equalizer, the lever that changes people’s lives and society for the better.

However, Benjamin explains: “Slowly, I came to the belief I have today: education is assimilation. Still.”  

David G. Savage, Los Angeles Times

Just in time for the election season, the Supreme Court has strengthened the rights of the nation’s 22 million public employees to protect them against being demoted or fired for supporting the wrong political candidate in the eyes of their supervisors. “The Constitution prohibits a government employer from discharging or demoting an employee because the employee supports a particular political candidate,” Justice Stephen G. Breyer said Tuesday.


Patricia Gándara, UCLA; American Educational Research Association

Patrick Wall, Chalkbeat

At some of the city’s 130 new “community schools,” new assistant principals seemed to have magically appeared and started sitting in on meetings, popping into classrooms, and hastening down hallways. 


April 22, 2016

Randi Weingarten, Huffington Post

The winner of a $1 million prize honoring excellence in teaching set off shockwaves last year when she said that, given the current climate, she would not encourage people to consider teaching in public schools. Perhaps that declaration, from veteran teacher Nancie Atwell, shouldn’t have come as a shock. Atwell decried the unrelenting focus on standardized tests, which she said reduces teachers to “mere technicians.” But she could have cited any number of factors that demoralize many teachers currently in the profession and increasingly dissuade people from considering teaching.


John Fensterwald, EdSource

Three school districts have created innovative systems to evaluate teachers that could serve as models for districts laboring under a flawed state evaluation law, according to a new study. The progress of the San Juan, San Jose and Poway districts contrasts with the seemingly intractable stalemate in the Legislature, where Democratic and Republican leaders, seeing no breakthrough, are steering clear this year of proposing comprehensive evaluation reforms.


Warren Simmons, Fellow and Former Executive Director, Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University

2016 Wallace Foundation Distinguished Lecture, AERA


Andrew Ujifusa, Education Week

When Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is on the campaign trail talking about education, the Republican presidential candidate is perhaps best known for two promises: He'll have the U.S. Department of Education end the Common Core State Standards—and he'll abolish the federal Education Department itself. The first of those would seem to be a nonstarter—the common core is a state-driven initiative, not a federal mandate, and the Education Department has no authority to roll it back. The second harks back to President Ronald Reagan, whose 1980 campaign platform included ending the then-new department, a push that has never gained traction. That leaves Cruz's other major K-12 theme: support for charter schools and vouchers, which the first-term U.S. senator has put at the top of his legislative agenda since he was elected in 2012.



April 15, 2016

Sonali Kohli, Los Angeles Times
California will be able to keep its teacher tenure and seniority laws, at least for now, because they’re constitutional. That’s what a California appellate court said in its ruling Thursday, overturning a lower court’s decision in the case Vergara vs. California. So what is this case, and what does it mean for teachers in California and across the country? 


Emma Brown, The Washington Post
Applications to Teach for America fell by 16 percent in 2016, marking the third consecutive year in which the organization — which places college graduates in some of the nation’s toughest classrooms — has seen its applicant pool shrink.


Ursula Wolfe-Rocca, Rethinking Schools
Student-selected and student-run current events discussions are a daily ingredient of my high school social studies classes. The first 20 minutes of every 90-minute class period, we read an excerpt from a recent newspaper article and discuss its significance. In the last few years, the discussions have been dominated by names that have piled up with sickening frequency: Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Walter Scott, Freddie Gray, Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland. My students, mostly Asian American and white, live in Lake Oswego, one of the wealthiest cities in Oregon and a community that benefits from mostly positive relationships with police. They struggle to understand a society that continues to allow Black lives to die at the hands of law enforcement.


Southern Poverty Law Center
Every four years, teachers in the United States use the presidential election to impart valuable lessons to students about the electoral process, democracy, government and the responsibilities of citizenship. But, for students and teachers alike, this year’s primary season is starkly different from any in recent memory. The results of an online survey conducted by Teaching Tolerance suggest that the campaign is having a profoundly negative effect on children and classrooms.

April 8, 2016

Peggy Barmore, The Hechinger Report

Most of the 50-plus teacher hopefuls who crowded into a small atrium at Clarkson University on a Saturday morning in January to hear a panel discussion about the teaching job market and new licensure requirements shared two traits: They were female. And white. About a third were people of color or males. There was one lone African-American man. They are the picture of – and the problem with – America’s teacher pipeline.


Melinda D. Anderson, The Atlantic

The storyline is a familiar one: An idealistic new teacher, full of hope and enthusiasm, embarks on a career at a tough urban school. The plot then takes one of two typical turns: Either the fervent novice, facing the unyielding and ever-increasing pressures of the classroom, leaves teaching and emerges with insights on improving urban schools—or the newbie, due solely to individual moxie and an untiring work ethic, achieves seemingly miraculous results with a hard-to-teach student population.


Emma Brown, The Washington Post

Many in the education world talk about the power of expectations, expressing the belief that if adults in a school expect students to succeed, then students will rise to that expectation, and if adults expect failure — well, that, too, can be a self-fulfilling prophecy.


Kimberly Beltran, Cabinet Report

A Richmond lawmaker wants the state to pony up $100 million to help school districts build housing for teachers, who often are unable to afford to live in the communities in which they work. By establishing a grant program that offers “development financing assistance” to districts “for the creation of affordable rental housing” for employees, the plan by Democratic Assemblyman Tony Thurmond provides some leverage for schools to partner with other local agencies or businesses to build economical housing as an incentive to get and retain teachers.


April 1, 2016

John Fensterwald, EdSource

The U.S. Supreme Court’s expected announcement Tuesday of a 4-4 deadlock in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association leaves opponents and supporters of mandatory fees charged by public employee unions looking to the November election and the next president’s critical nominee to the high court. The tie vote leaves in place the ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, in San Francisco, providing a win for the CTA – for now. But it also means the appeals court’s decision will not set national precedence, leaving the case unsettled. The Friedrichs plaintiffs can ask for the case to be heard when a new justice is appointed.

Emmanuel Felton, Education Week

Ten years after California legislators passed a bill creating a database to get a better handle on its teaching force, the Golden state remains one of only a handful of states not to have such a database.

Eric Westervelt, NPR

John B. King Jr was recently confirmed by the Senate as the new U.S. Secretary of Education for the remainder of President Obama's term, succeeding Arne Duncan. With a slew of pressing issues from pre-K to college debt, I wanted to find out what King thinks he can get done in such a short window of time. Here's our conversation.


March 24, 2016

Larry Ferlazzo, Education Week

Educator Christopher Emdin's book, For White Folks Who Teach In The Hood...and the rest of Y'all Too: Reality Pedagogy and Urban Education, was officially published today and he graciously answered several of my questions last week. Christopher Emdin is an associate professor in the Department of Mathematics, Science, and Technology at Teachers College, Columbia University, where he also serves as associate director of the Institute for Urban and Minority Education. He is the creator of the #HipHopEd social media movement and Science Genius B.A.T.T.L.E.S. Emdin was named the 2015 Multicultural Educator of the Year by the National Association of Multicultural Educators and has been honored as a STEM Access Champion of Change by the White House. In addition to teaching, he serves as a Minorities in Energy Ambassador for the US Department of Energy.


American Educational Research Association Division G Podcast

This podcast features a discussion on the need for research that centralizes pedagogy that connects the experiences of students’ lives to the classroom with Dr. Lorri J. Santamaría (Univ. of Auckland), Dr. Tonikiaa Orange (UCLA), Dr. Django Paris (MSU), Ms. Adeyanju Odutola (Clemson University), and Ms. Taylor Allbright (USC).


Emily Deruy, The Atlantic

shakeup at Teach for America, the controversial nonprofit that places recent college graduates in low-income school districts across the country, will eliminate the organization’s Office of the Chief Diversity Officer this fall. The announcement comes amid layoffs that will shrink the national staff about by 15 percent.


Daniel C. Humphrey, Julia E. Koppich, Juliet Tiffany-Morales, SRI Education

It is hard to find many teachers or principals who believe that traditional teacher evaluation systems are of much value. Typically, they neither identify struggling teachers nor contribute to improving practice for any teachers. While there may be some exceptions, most teacher evaluation systems are simply a series of sporadic events designed to gauge practice in the moment. On-going professional growth and improvement rarely enter into the equation. This report draws lessons from three California school districts and their teachers’ unions that have charted a different course and determined that the purpose of evaluation should be to improve teaching in order to advance student learning.


Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times

Debra Duardo, a former high school dropout, will become the top education official for Los Angeles County, heading an agency that provides schooling for teenage inmates as well as for thousands of disabled students—programs that have been criticized in recent years.


March 18, 2016

Sonali Kohli, Los Angeles Times

No teachers in the L.A. Unified School District will get pink slips for cash flow reasons this year. That’s thanks in part to a one-time influx of cash from the state and Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed budget that allocates more funding to schools. The last time the district didn't send teachers these notices was 2013.


Kimberly Beltran, Cabinet Report

From reimbursing student loans to establishing a statewide recruiting center, lawmakers this session are pushing several legislative proposals aimed at beefing up California’s qualified teacher pool. Among them are two bills that would establish separate grant programs – one for local education agencies that create teacher training “residencies” in high-need districts; another designed to help classified employees, or para-educators, earn a teaching credential.


Marilyn Cochran-Smith, Rebecca Stern, Juan Gabriel Sánchez, Andrew Miller, Elizabeth Stringer Keefe, M. Beatriz Fernández, Wen-Chia Chang, Molly Cummings Carney, Stephani Burton, & Megina Baker, Boston College; National Education Policy Center

Teacher preparation has emerged as an acutely politicized and publicized issue in U.S. education policy and practice, and there have been fierce debates about the methods and reasoning behind it. Because of the importance of teachers and teacher education, policy should be driven by the best evidence based on high-quality research. In Holding Teacher Preparation Accountable: A Review of Claims and Evidence, four major national initiatives intended to improve teacher quality by “holding teacher education accountable” for arrangements and outcomes are explored. This new policy brief scrutinizes each initiative in light of the research evidence.


Emma Brown, The Washington Post

The Senate voted on Monday to confirm John King Jr. as U.S. Education Secretary, a move that shows that education has become a rare issue on which a polarized Washington can reach bipartisan compromise.


March 11, 2016

Emily Goldberg, Los Angeles Magazine

Los Angeles Unified School District has weathered its fair share of hardship. The second biggest school district in the nation is no stranger to controversy, and 80 percent of students live at or below the poverty line. Yet too often, we hear only the bad news. Take high school social studies teacher Daniel Jocz, for example. In his 11 years teaching, Jocz has gone above and beyond in his efforts to better educate his students and inspire them both inside and outside of the classroom. In January this commitment earned him some much-deserved recognition when he was chosen as one of four finalists for 2016’s National Teacher of the Year.  (The winner will be announced in April.)


Thomas Toch, The Atlantic

The Obama administration has worked hard to strengthen public-school teaching—a $400 billion-plus workforce, and perhaps the single strongest lever in schools for raising student achievement. But just after Thanksgiving, the president signed a major new education law that largely abandoned the cornerstone of his teacher agenda: pressing states and school districts to take more seriously the task of identifying who in the profession was doing a good job, and who wasn't. Two powerful forces at opposite ends of the political spectrum had attacked the president’s strategy—teacher unions wanting to end the new scrutiny of their members and Tea Party members targeting the Obama plan as part of a larger anti-Washington campaign. As a result, the new Every Student Succeeds Act terminates the Obama administration’s incentives for states and school districts to introduce tougher teacher-evaluation systems. And the law effectively bans the U.S. Secretary of Education from promoting teacher-performance measurements in the future.


John Cassidy, The New Yorker 

One of the most intriguing moments in Sunday night’s Democratic debate came when CNN’s Anderson Cooper asked Hillary Clinton, “Do you think unions protect bad teachers?” In the Democratic Party, few subjects are as incendiary as education. On one side of the issue are the reformers, such as Andrew Cuomo, the governor of New York, who support charter schools, regular testing, and changing labor contracts to make it easier to fire underperforming teachers. On the other side are the defenders of public schools, such as Bill de Blasio, the mayor of New York City, who are seeking to impose limits on the charter movement, modify testing requirements, and stand up for teachers.


March 4, 2016

Alyson Klein and Andrew Ujifusa, Education Week

The major party hopefuls still in the race as of last week boasted widely varied records and stances on K-12.


Ron Haskins, Brookings

The nation is now in the midst of a fascinating presidential campaign that, as always, creates an opportunity for a national debate on both the proper priorities of the federal government and the specific policies that Republican and Democratic candidates propose to address those priorities. My purpose in this article is to examine whether the candidates are advancing similar or different proposals on how to reduce poverty and increase economic mobility. It is useful to lay the groundwork for this exercise by first reviewing (a) what we know about poverty and economic mobility in the United States and (b) what the public thinks about poverty and economic mobility in the United States.


Jackie Mader, The Hechinger Report

States have largely failed to invest in programs that support new teachers, even as the percentage of new teachers in schools nationwide has skyrocketed. That’s the main finding of a report released Tuesday by the nonprofit New Teacher Center, which looked at state policies that support new teachers through mentoring and teacher induction programs.

February 26, 2016

Howard Blume and Joy Resmovits, Los Angeles Times

An overflow crowd at a state appellate courtroom in Los Angeles listened attentively Thursday to the latest round in an ongoing argument about the intersection of students’ rights and teachers’ rights.


Alia Wong, The Atlantic

A number of states want to raise their salaries, but it’s unclear whether the increases will do much to solve schools’ staffing problems.


Corey Mitchell, Education Week

When Hurricane Katrina swept through New Orleans, Chrissell Rhone lost lots: his home, his job, and the sense of security that came from teaching alongside people who looked like him. The storm forced Rhone to pack up and leave New Orleans, where an ample supply of black educators populated the city's classrooms. He settled just 45 miles northeast, in Picayune, Miss., a town of 11,000 near the Mississippi-Louisiana border, and is now the lone black teacher at the district's alternative education center and among only a handful of black male educators in a district where a majority of students are white.


Alyson Klein, Education Week

Acting U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr., should start researching the lunch options in House and Senate cafeterias—he's going to be on Capitol Hill quite a bit this week. He'll kick things off with a House education committee hearing on the budget Wednesday, plus another on the president's latest budget request for fiscal year 2017 on Thursday morning. But the highlight may come Thursday afternoon, with his confirmation hearing.


February 19, 2016

John Fensterwald, EdSource

With the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, the California Teachers Association will likely gain an unexpected victory, at least for now, in its legal battle to continue the right to require all teachers to pay the costs of collective bargaining.


Kim Farris-Berg, Huffington Post

But what if principals' roles were defined differently? Perhaps one way forward is to pursue a different job description. As an advocate for teacher-powered schools, which are collaboratively designed and run by teachers, I often meet principals who believe that a teacher-led approach to school governance is bound to make their positions obsolete. No, I tell them, teacher-powered schools just shift the accountability framework. The team of teachers becomes accountable for school success, alongside you, I explain.


Kimberly Beltran, Cabinet Report

The good news is that the number of certificated librarians in California schools has increased slightly the past three years. The bad news, however, is that the state’s ratio of one librarian for every 7,187 students ranks at the bottom nationally for professional library staffing.


February 12, 2016

Patricia Leigh Brown, The New York Times

Mr. Jennings’s class, at the Montera Middle School in Oakland, Calif., is part of a novel and ambitious initiative by the Oakland Unified School District to rewrite the pernicious script of racial inequality, underachievement and lack of opportunity for African-American boys.


Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times

The rallying cry went out from the leaders of Los Angeles teachers’ union: We need more money to fight the rich and powerful forces that want to take over public schools. Members have responded by agreeing to raise their annual dues by about a third, to $1,000 a year. The increase was approved by 82% of those who cast ballots, according to United Teachers Los Angeles, which tallied the votes Wednesday.


Larry Cuban, Stanford University

Today, reformers from both ends of the political spectrum push Common Core Standards into classrooms. They champion charters and more parental choice of schools. They want teachers to be evaluated on the basis of student test scores. Policymakers, philanthropists, and vendors send tablets to classrooms. Look at these reforms as blood relatives fixed on changing how teachers teach so students can learn more, faster, and better. An old story to be sure.

February 5, 2016

Steve Lopez, Los Angeles Times

Yom, as the students call their Lincoln High calculus teacher, is at the blackboard with marker in hand. He can't be stopped. Left to right he works, light on his feet, flicking out triangles, stacking towers of numbers, turning Room 754 into a gallery of cave art. And here's the really impressive part: Every student is locked in. There's no daydreaming or goofing.


Adolfo Guzman-Lopez, KPCC

The state Senate bills aim to improve recruitment of college students thinking about becoming teachers, increase mentorship of beginning teachers, and forgive student loans for teachers who work in high-need schools.


Lyndsey Layton, The Washington Post

Republican lawmakers in Illinois last month pitched a bold plan for the state to seize control of the Chicago public schools, becoming one of a growing number of states that are moving to sideline local officials — even dissolve locally elected school boards — and take over struggling urban schools.


Ann Zaniewski, Detroit Free Press

The Detroit Federation of Teachers, its umbrella group and several parents slapped the city's school district with a lawsuit today over the mold, rodents and other issues in dilapidated schools, saying the poor conditions seriously threaten students' health. They are asking a judge to force the district to fix the problems and boot out state-appointed emergency manager Darnell Earley.


January 29, 2016

David Gonzalez, The New York Times

Tom Porton is used to drama: Since arriving at James Monroe High School as an English teacher 45 years ago, he has taught and staged plays. Outside, in the Bronx River neighborhood where the school is, there was plenty of drama in the 1980s, when AIDS and crack ravaged the area. His response then was to establish a group of peer educators who worked with Montefiore Medical Center to teach teenagers about H.I.V. prevention. His efforts earned him awards, including recognition from the City Council and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and led to his induction into the National Teachers Hall of Fame.


Louis Freedberg, EdSource

When Michelle King was appointed to head the Los Angeles Unified School District last week, she became the most prominent African-American school superintendent in the state and the nation.


Lisa Guilfoile, Brady Delander, and Carol Kreck, Education Commission of the States

The purpose of this guidebook is to serve as a resource—a what’s next?—for teachers, administrators, policymakers, and other education leaders who want to put these practices in place but are not sure how to begin. For those who already are sold on the idea of the six proven practices but need ideas for how to promote and utilize them, this document highlights research that confirms these practices as proven strategies for implementing high-quality civic learning, and provides practical suggestions for how to implement each practice in schools and classrooms and how to model state-level policies that support these practices. This guidebook also outlines various programs that align with each practice.


January 22, 2016

Louis Freedberg, EdSource

To cope with a widening shortage of teachers, California school districts are hiring an increasing number of teachers with “substandard” permits and credentials, as well as relying on short-term substitute teachers, according to a new report.


Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles' beleaguered school system doesn't need the aggressive shake-up some critics have called for so much as consistent, steady progress and collaboration, new schools Supt. Michelle King said in a meeting Thursday with The Times.


Alex Cohen with Monica Bushman, KPCC; John Rogers, UCLA; David Plank, Stanford University

Earlier this week, the Los Angeles Unified School Board named long-time LAUSD employee Michelle King as the new superintendent. The move came after a lengthy, nation-wide search. Leading the nation's second largest school district is a tough job— with lagging student achievement, dwindling enrollment and funding problems.  How can anyone begin to turn a district like this around?


January 15, 2016

Maiya Jackson, Rethinking Schools

An administrator describes the journey of her K–8 school as it welcomes a transgender 8th grader and the gender transition of another student.


Sarah Butrymowicz, The Hechinger Report

A Supreme Court case argued Monday could significantly weaken government unions across the country. If the justices rule in favor of the plaintiffs in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, every state in the country will essentially become a “right-to-work” state, where employees who choose not to belong to a public union won’t have to give it fees of any kind.


Richard D. Kahlenberg, The Century Foundation

On January 11, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association. The case pits the right of public employees to band together and form effective unions to pursue the common interests of workers against the free speech rights of dissenting public employees to abstain from funding collective bargaining efforts with which they disagree.1 A decision by the Court against the teachers association could not only significantly weaken public sector unions, but also endanger the nation’s core democratic values.


Howard Blume and Teresa Watanabe, Los Angeles Times

For months, a high-profile head-hunting firm searched the nation for a new superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District. On Monday evening, the Board of Education gave the job to a candidate who was part of the district all along: Chief Deputy Supt. Michelle King. Some education experts cheered the decision. Others winced. Few thought that finding a leader for the district was an easy task.


January 8, 2016

Associated Press, Education Week

Inspired by the success in the heart of the Silicon Valley of a 70-unit teachers-only apartment complex, school districts in high cost-of-living areas and rural communities that have long struggled to staff classrooms are considering buying or building rent-subsidized apartments as a way to attract and retain teachers amid concerns of a looming shortage.


Michael Gonchar, The New York Times

In this lesson, we ask students to look closely at the 14th Amendment to discern what it means and how it has been interpreted over time. Then, we suggest a variety of Times articles that examine how our criminal justice system treats blacks in comparison to whites. Finally, we encourage students to note inequality in their communities and find ways to take action.


Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times

San Francisco schools Supt. Richard Carranza, a leading candidate to head the Los Angeles Unified School District, has pulled out of consideration, according to a spokeswoman for the Bay Area district.


December 18, 2015

Katy Reckdahl, The Atlantic

The Honoré Center is one of a small but growing number of specialized programs aimed at boosting the number of black male schoolteachers, who make up roughly 2 percent of the nation’s teaching force.


Jane Meredith Adams, EdSource

Under federal pressure to increase the amount of time special education students spend in general education classrooms, the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing announced it will require all future teachers to learn techniques proven to foster the success of students with disabilities, including small group instruction, behavior management and using frequent informal assessments to identify and address learning gaps.


Steve Drummond, NPR

Gun control. Climate change. Donald Trump. Affirmative action. The first presidential primaries are just weeks away and with all these debates and issues in the headlines, there's no question that students are going to want to talk about them. But how should teachers handle these discussions?


December 11, 2015

Lyndsey Layton. Washington Post

President Obama signed a new K-12 education law on Thursday that effectively ends heavy federal involvement in public schools and sends much of that authority back to states and local school districts.                                                                                 

Kenneth Zeichner, The Answer Sheet

The fundamental tenets of the Every Student Succeeds Act – the successor to No Child Left Behind – are now well known. It lessens the latter’s focus on standardized test scores and shifts much policy-making power from the U.S. Education Department back to the states. But many educators may be surprised to learn what it includes about teacher preparation. There are provisions in the bill for the establishment of teacher preparation academies – and they are written to primarily support non-traditional, non-university programs.


William J. Mathis and Kevin Welner, National Education Policy Center

The current era of deprofessionalization of teaching is tied to an easy-entry, easy-exit approach to the hiring and firing of teachers and to the widespread use of standards-based testing to drive accountability. In a new brief released today, Reversing the Deprofessionalization of Teaching, William Mathis and Kevin Welner describe this landscape and offer a path to restoring teaching as a profession.



December 4, 2015

Alyson Klein, EdWeek

The newest proposed version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act—dubbed the Every Student Succeeds Act—has officially been released.


KCRW, Guests: Mary Kusler, National Education Association; Lyndsey Layton, Washington Post; Janel George, NAACP Legal Defense Fund; Rick Hess, American Enterprise Institute

It could be a rare compromise in a sharply divided Congress. Democrats and Republicans want to get rid of No Child Left Behind. The likely replacement would be called Every Child Succeeds — with less standardized testing and more power to states and local districts. But, conservatives complain there’s still too much federal involvement; liberals worry the rights of low-income and minority students will be ignored. We hear details of efforts to thread the needle between teachers, advocates of school choice, civil libertarians and many other interested parties.


Adolfo Guzman-Lopez, KPCC

On Tuesday L.A. Unified’s school board got a first look at a list of people who want to be the school district’s next superintendent.


November 20, 2015

Louis Freedberg, EdSource

California registered voters regard the emerging shortage of K-12 teachers as a very serious problem and think that the state should be taking decisive action to rectify the situation, according to a poll commissioned by EdSource and the Learning Policy Institute.


Sonali Kohli, Los Angeles Times

By the time teachers understood the magnitude of Friday’s terror attacks on Paris, school was over, or close to it. So students throughout Southern California came to school Monday morning with a few questions.


John Fensterwald, EdSource

A team of researchers found that, two years into the state’s new school financing law, “nagging concerns” are tempering the enthusiasm that school districts and county offices of education have for the Local Control Funding Formula.

November 13, 2015

Valerie Strauss, Kevin Welner, Carol Burris, The Answer Sheet

Last year, a project called Schools of Opportunity was launched as a pilot effort to honor high schools that work hard to offer all students a chance to succeed. Spearheaded by two veteran educators, it was different from other efforts to rate and rank schools through the use of student standardized test scores and data points. Instead, the Schools of Opportunity project sought to identify and recognize public high schools that seek to close opportunity gaps through practices “that build on students’ strengths” — not by inundating them with tests and obsessing on the scores.


Lee Hale, NPR

The federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, or IDEA, requires that every student have what's known as an IEP — Individualized Education Program. And almost always, those IEP's spell out that students — either some of the time or all of the time — must be taught by a teacher fully certified in special education. And yet, around the country, that's exactly the category of teacher that's most in demand, as many states and districts are reporting severe shortages.


Adolfo Guzman-Lopez, KPCC

The Los Angeles Unified School District board is set to hear dire news at its Tuesday meeting: a $333 million budget deficit looms in the 2017-2018 school year and the shortfall is predicted to balloon to $600 million two years later.

November 6, 2015

Joy Resmovits, Los Angeles Times

When Arielle Bourguignon started teaching at 24th Street Elementary in Jefferson Park about two years ago, she felt UCLA's education school had prepared her well.


Valerie Strauss, Answer Sheet

Here we go again. Another Bill Gates-funded education reform project, starting with mountains of cash and sky-high promises, is crashing to Earth. This time it’s the Empowering Effective Teachers, an educator evaluation program in Hillsborough County, Florida, which was developed in 2009 with major financial backing from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.


Adolfo Guzman-Lopez, KPCC

The search for Los Angeles Unified’s next superintendent enters a new phase this month as recruiters reach out across the country to approach qualified candidates.

October 30, 2015

LA School Report

Daniel Jocz, a social studies teacher at Downtown Magnets High School, is one of five people named today by Tom Torlakson, State Superintendent of Public Education, as 2016 California Teachers of the Year.


Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times

In its search for a new superintendent, the Los Angeles Board of Education is out to find that rare leader who can tame political turmoil, manage a multibillion-dollar organization and somehow drive academic achievement upward.


Adolfo Guzman-Lopez, KPCC

Earlier this month, dozens of Los Angeles civic groups proposed creating a committee to help in Los Angeles Unified’s superintendent search. School board members voted down the idea Tuesday.


October 23, 2015

Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times

The nation’s second-largest school district invited the public Monday to talk about what they want in a leader, but only about two dozen people showed up.


Adolfo Guzman-Lopez, KPCC

Vincent Matthews, the Inglewood Unified School District's new state administrator, got a warm welcome at a reception with parents, school staff, and civic leaders at the La Tijera Academy of Excellence Tuesday evening.


Elissa Nadworny, NPR

Of all the teachers in the U.S., only 2 percent are black and male. That news is bad enough. But it gets worse: Many of these men are leaving the profession.



Document Actions

UCLA Center X
1320 Moore Hall, Box 951521
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1521
(310) 825-4910