Evidence that you can’t lure entrepreneurs with tax cuts

Mission: Graduate, ABC Community School Partnership, and Early Childhood Accountability Partnership (ECAP) are putting us on the right track to growth, both short- and long-term.

150 executives surveyed by Endeavor Insight, a research firm that examines how entrepreneurs contribute to job creation and long-term economic growth, said a skilled workforce and high quality of life were the main reasons why they founded their companies where they did; taxes weren’t a significant factor.  This suggests that states that cut taxes and then address the revenue loss by letting their schools, parks, roads, and public safety deteriorate will become less attractive to the kinds of people who found high-growth companies.  (Hat tip to urbanologist Richard Florida for calling attention to the study.)

Rock on Mission: GraduateABC Community School Partnership, and Early Childhood Accountability Partnership (ECAP)!

You can read the entire article here.

Work Wonders Project – marrying technology and collaboration in education

May 27, 2014

Microsoft has today announced the Work Wonders Project, a video series that explores the power of technology and collaboration powered by Office 365. You’ll be able to watch two very bright minds as they work together to achieve positive results in a YouTube series that launches June 2.

The challenge is on: “Pencils of Promise” founder Adam Braun believes schools are the future, and education reformer Sugata Mitra thinks they’re obsolete. But the two are joining together in The Work Wonders Project to collaborate on ways to revolutionize education, including using Office 365 to do it.

Braun, whose nonprofit program has built 200 “pencil of promise” schools in Laos, Guatemala and Ghana, will work with Mitra, a ted prize winner and a professor of educational technology, who will bring his cloud-based, elementary education approach to Braun’s schools in Ghana

Very neat 3 minute video overview:  

.http://www.microsoft.com/office/workwonders/

Tom

U.S. Schools Chief Calls California Ruling ‘A Mandate’ to Fix Tenure, Firing Laws

A California judge ruled as unconstitutional Tuesday the state’s teacher tenure, dismissal and layoff laws, saying they keep bad teachers in the classroom and force out promising good ones.

Poor and minority students are especially hurt by the laws because “grossly ineffective teachers” more often work in their schools, Los Angeles County Judge Rolf M. Treu said.

[You might want to read this post discussing this topic]

The ruling was hailed by the nation’s top education chief as bringing to California – and possibly the nation – an opportunity to build “a new framework for the teaching profession.” The decision represented “a mandate” to fix a broken teaching system, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan said.

The court ordered a stay of the decision, pending an appeal by the state and the teachers union, the plaintiffs said.

Read full article here

PARCC States Successfully Wrap Up Field Test

PARCC States Successfully Wrap Up Field Test 

Washington, D.C. – More than one million students completed field tests last Friday, after nine weeks during which students participated in a trial run of the new tests developed by member states in the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers.  The tests are being developed in English language arts/ literacy and mathematics for grades 3-8 and high school.

“The completion of the PARCC field testing marks a key milestone in our development of an innovative assessment system aligned to the state-developed Common Core standards,” said Mitchell Chester, the Massachusetts education commissioner, who also chairs the PARCC governing board. “Overall, students had a very positive experience with the items and the new, online format. We’ll now use the feedback from students and educators to refine the test for next year’s operational testing.”

The goal of the field test was to “try out the nearly 10,000 test items developed by teachers, college and university faculty and others from the PARCC states,” according to Laura Slover, chief executive officer for PARCC, Inc., the non-profit managing the project for the states. She noted that at least 30 sets of eyes had seen each test item before it made it to the field test. Even now, she said, testing experts will review the results of the tests to make sure each item is valid. Some may be discarded or require revision based on the field testing.

The field test was also an opportunity for students and schools to test out their own technology and the test platform, learn about the test administration procedures, and provide feedback.

Student survey results revealed they generally like the online format of the test, and many found the test questions more engaging than their previous standardized tests. Test administrators also were positive, though they noted that the instructions for administrators were too long and could be clearer, something Slover said staff and state members would be working to address. Slover said additional detail from the surveys will be released in coming weeks. “We are compiling a list of lessons learned that we will share with states and the public this summer,” Slover said.

The tests, which will be given starting next school year, are part of a larger assessment system, which includes other voluntary components: interim assessments to measure whether students are on track, diagnostic assessments that allow teachers to check in on student performance throughout the year and adjust instruction to meet student needs, formative tasks, speaking and listening assessments, and professional learning resources for teachers.

Education chiefs from the participating states say the field test has been vitally important to developing the assessment system, and useful for schools as they prepare for next year.

“As we close the PARCC field tests in the District of Columbia, we look forward to going into the new school year knowing that our teachers and students have had a positive initial experience with our upcoming next-generation assessment,” said District of Columbia State Superintendent Jesús Aguirre. “The field test of this assessment, aligned with our common-core state standards, has provided great insight that will inform the work of creating an absolutely high-quality assessment that will support our efforts of ensuring that all of our students are ready for college, career, and life.  As a member of the PARCC consortium, DC has contributed greatly to the development of this assessment and we are thrilled to see it successfully complete this phase of its development.”

“A survey of Louisiana students validates our state’s strategy to use the online PARCC assessments,” said Louisiana State Superintendent John White.  “With nearly 80 percent of the students surveyed indicating they use a computer or tablet nearly every day, it only makes sense that we test them the same way.”

“We are moving ahead on an assessment system of unprecedented quality and breadth,” said New Mexico Secretary of Education Hanna Skandera. “States are going to be sharing an assessment next year, allowing us to compare results and learn from each other. Making sure our students are learning these critical skills is at the core of all our efforts and with the field test complete we’ve moved forward in a way no single state has done before. ” 

The preliminary breakdown of the roughly 790,000 computer-based tests completed by state is: Arizona, 69,236; Arkansas, 37,194; Colorado, 25,248; District of Columbia, 6,561; Illinois, 111,380; Louisiana, 39,938; Maryland, 73,220; Massachusetts, 69,980; Mississippi, 50,687; New Jersey, 100,616; New Mexico, 11,997; New York, 15,905; Ohio, 112,527; Rhode Island, 16,375; Tennessee, 44,768. In addition, just over 10,000 students in Hillsborough County, Florida, completed field tests and roughly 170,000 students took the performance-based portion of the test on paper and an estimated 100,000 or more took the end-of-year portion of the test on paper. Final state by state totals will not be available for several weeks, as the paper-based tests must be returned and processed.

The field tests will not yield scores for students or schools – rather they are used to determine if the questions function as intended. In addition, test developers and the state experts who oversee the work will review research studies this fall, which include a comparison of paper- vs. computer-based assessments; differences in student performance and behavior between tablets, desktops and laptops; whether the text-to-speech accommodation works as intended; and several other studies.

Work will begin soon on preparing for the spring 2015 test and on developing additional test items for future years, as the PARCC states plan to release 40 percent of test items each year.

Learn more about PARCC

How Charter Schools and Testing Regimes Have Helped Re-Segregate Our Schools – The Daily Beast

Worth a read and a thought.

How Charter Schools and Testing Regimes Have Helped Re-Segregate Our Schools – The Daily Beast

Sure, it’s mostly the courts, but as we approach the 60th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, charter schools and testing regimes are reinforcing segregation.

Tom

2000x paper microscope — $1 — 20 minutes

A new microscope can be printed on a flat piece of paper and assembled with a few extra components in less than 10 minutes. All the parts to make it cost less than a dollar, according to Stanford bioengineer Manu Prakash and colleagues, who describe their origami optics this week in a paper published on arxiv.org.

The goal, as Prakash explains in a TED talk, is to provide a cheap medical screening tool that could be widely used in the developing world. Because the microscopes can be printed by the thousands, they could also be used for education and field research.

Click here to read the article and see a video of Prakash explaining everything.

Way cool!

Changing Demographics of Teaching = school-student-society drain

Thanks to Franklin Schargel for pointing out this new Carnegie Foundation study.

BEGINNERS IN THE CLASSROOM  -  WHAT THE CHANGING DEMOGRAPHICS OF TEACHING MEAN FOR SCHOOLS, STUDENTS, AND SOCIETY

BY SUSAN HEADDEN  -  Carnegie Foundation for the advancement of teaching 2014

This is my attempt to summarize the main points of 28 pages of this important and timely study. Interestingly, much of this tracks very closely with M. Night Shyamalan Foundation’s studies and book: I Got Schooled, which I  summarized earlier in my blog.

Talent Drain – turnover and departures are lowering the average classroom experience level

Why They Leave – mainly because of poor/lacking administrative and professional support

New Generation, New Attitudes – impatience with dysfunctional structures, older teachers didn’t have to put up with all the testing and curriculum changes

Myths About Money – again, solid administrative support seems more important than money, pension back-loading is hard to swallow

The Toll of Teacher Turnover – turnover is very expensive, student relationships suffer, support from veteran teachers is rapidly vanishing

How Much Turnover is Too Much – it turns out that number/quality/costs of turnover is very poorly tracked, principles aren’t getting good teachers to stay and aren’t good at getting bad ones to leave, there are no good ideas what effective turnover targets should be

Supporting a Teacher’s First Years – careful hiring is important, new teachers are not prepared for realities of classroom, there is too little summer training, there is too much late hiring, there is lack of comprehensive induction (useful discussion of benefits of comprehensive induction and various approaches)

Houston Boot Camp – a mentoring program in the face of daunting statistics and politics

Roving Mentors in Iowa  -  mentors working outside of their normal grade levels and subject areas have much to offer to the new teacher, a lot of work gathering data on what was working

Teacher Residencies: Working Into The Job – pre-service apprenticing for up to a full year is producing desirable results in effectiveness and retention

A Matter of Match – problems arise from weak interviewing, little interaction with school personnel, hiring late in the process and after school year starts. turnover destroys continuity and trust for teachers and students

Returns On Investment – high quality induction produces lower turnover and higher retention, poor hiring practices leaks good teachers

Anamosa, Iowa –a detailed example of mentoring support

To read the whole study, click here.