Archives for the month of: January, 2014

During his campaign, Mayor Bill Di Blasio pledged to provide universal pre-kindergarten for all children whose families can’t afford it.

He said he would pay for UPK (universal pre-kindergarten) by imposing a modest tax increase on those with incomes over $500,000 a year. But he needs the support of Governor Cuomo and the State Legislature to raise taxes on the super-rich.

In the meanwhile, the Di Blasio administration has announced that it will redirect money from the city’s capital plan that was intended for charter schools to be used instead to begin UPK.

The Bloomberg administration made charters a high priority even though they enroll only 6% of the city’s children.

According to the report in the New York Times:

“The chancellor, Carmen Fariña, in describing the Education Department’s $12.8 billion capital plan, said she would seek to redirect $210 million that had been reserved for classroom space for charter schools and other nonprofit groups. The money, spread out over five years, would instead be used to create thousands of new prekindergarten seats, helping fulfill Mr. de Blasio’s signature campaign promise.

“The decision was an opening salvo in what many expect to be a long battle between the de Blasio administration and charter schools. The mayor is an unabashed critic of the schools, which are publicly financed but privately run. He has argued that the city should focus its resources on traditional public schools.”

The charter industry is outraged and is now angling to get permission to open pre-k programs.

Of course, if the charters maintain their typical practice of excluding children with disabilities and English learners, that would be disruptive for the UPK program.

The next contretemps between the Di Blasio administration and the charter industry will come when the administration reviews the decisions made in the waning days of the Bloomberg administration to open more charter schools in public school space. Chancellor Farina has said she will review each case on its merits, and Mayor Di Blasio has promised to listen to community sentiment.

Lyndsey Layton at the Washington Post reports that the name “Common Core” has become so toxic in some states that officials are calling it something else. This is known as old wine in new bottles.

She writes:

“Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) used an executive order to strip the name “Common Core” from the state’s new math and reading standards for public schools. In the Hawkeye State, the same standards are now called “The Iowa Core.” And in Florida, lawmakers want to delete “Common Core” from official documents and replace it with the cheerier-sounding “Next Generation Sunshine State Standards.”

In the face of growing opposition to the Common Core State Standards — a set of K-12 educational guidelines adopted by most of the country — officials in a handful of states are worried that the brand is already tainted. They’re keeping the standards but slapping on fresh names they hope will have greater public appeal.

At a recent meeting of the Council of Chief State School Officers, one of the organizations that helped create the standards, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee (R) urged state education leaders to ditch the “Common Core” name, noting that it had become “toxic.”

“Rebrand it, refocus it, but don’t retreat,” said Huckabee, now the host of a Fox News talk show and a supporter of the standards.”

This report stands in sharp contrast to the post by Vicki Phillips of the Gates Foundation on Andrew Rotherham’s blog “Eduwonk,” which claimed that the Common Core has great “momentum” and is unstoppable. Rotherham noted that his organization has received funding from Gates to promote Common Core.

There is a distinct smell of failure in the air.

Valerie Strauss reports that almost all the superintendents in the state of Maryland signed a letter protesting the rushed timetable for Arne Duncan’s favorite reforms.

She writes:

“Nearly all of the superintendents of Maryland school districts have signed a statement that criticizes federal and state education officials for forcing them to implement several major reforms, including the Common Core State Standards, on what they say is an unrealistic timetable.

“The document, approved by 22 of Maryland’s 24 superintendents from districts educating more than 800,000 students, asks for more time and resources to put the reforms in place, including the use of new Common Core tests expected in the 2014-2015 school year. The statement (which you can read here) represents the first time that such a high percentage of schools chiefs in Maryland have come together to publicly call out education officials over school reform.

“Parents, elected officials, community leaders and pundits are reacting sometimes with alarm as local school systems throughout the state deal with the challenges of implementing the many components of education reform,” says the document, obtained by The Washington Post. Carl Roberts, executive director of the Public School Superintendents Association of Maryland and a former superintendent, organized the joint statement but would not identify the two superintendents who did not sign on.

“Though affirming that they wholeheartedly support the Common Core standards as “a more rigorous path through pre-kindergarten to grade twelve for all students,” the superintendents wrote that there are serious problems with the introduction of the reforms. They specifically cited the fact that Maryland plans to continue using an outdated test — the Maryland School Assessments — while the state has shifted to a new curriculum that isn’t aligned with the old test. They also said it is inappropriate for new test-based teacher evaluations and accountability measures to roll out before the reforms have been fully put in place.”

It bears noting that Duncan’s faith in evaluating teachers by test scores has not worked anywhere it has been tried. In New York, for example, tens of millions of dollars (perhaps more) were spent to determine that 1% of teachers were “ineffective,” and that 1% might have been misidentified. The Common Core standards have not yet been validated for any purpose, except on paper. Some 500 early childhood experts have declared them to be inappropriate for the early grades.

The federal government apparently wants everyone to jump into the deep end of the pool, whether they can swim or not, and without looking to see if the pool has any water in it.

[Note to readers: I abridged this article to comply with copyright limits. Please open the link and read the article in full at the Hartford Courant, which had the good sense to publish it.]

Thanks to the punitive actions and policies of the U.S. Department of Education and the states, there is a new genre of writing by teachers, explaining why they are quitting. The most famous was written by Kris Neilsen of North Carolina, whose letter of resignation went viral, was viewed by hundreds of thousands of people, and went around the world.

This column was written by Elizabeth Natale, a middle-school teacher in Connecticut. This state has one of the best public school systems in the United States, yet its governor and state commissioner continually bash teachers and public schools, while lauding charters and showering them with extra money. The leaders are certain that public schools and teachers are failing and need tough measures to shake them up. In time, what the leaders are doing will be revealed as a mighty hoax whose goal is to increase market share for charters.

Natale writes:

“Surrounded by piles of student work to grade, lessons to plan and laundry to do, I have but one hope for the new year: that the Common Core State Standards, their related Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium testing and the new teacher evaluation program will become extinct.

I have been a middle school English teacher for 15 years. I entered teaching after 19 years as a newspaper reporter and college public relations professional….

Although the tasks ahead of me are no different from those of the last 14 years, today is different. Today, I am considering ending my teaching career.

When I started teaching, I learned that dealing with demanding college presidents and cantankerous newspaper editors was nothing. While those jobs allowed me time to drink tea and read the newspaper, teaching deprived me of an opportunity to use the restroom. And when I did, I was often the Pied Piper, followed by children intent on speaking with me through the bathroom door.

I loved it!

Unfortunately, government attempts to improve education are stripping the joy out of teaching and doing nothing to help children….

The Smarter Balance program assumes my students are comfortable taking tests on a computer, even if they do not own one…

I am a professional. My mission is to help students progress academically, but there is much more to my job than ensuring students can answer multiple-choice questions on a computer. Unlike my engineer husband who runs tests to rate the functionality of instruments, I cannot assess students by plugging them into a computer….

My most important contributions to students are not addressed by the Common Core, Smarter Balance and teacher evaluations. I come in early, work through lunch and stay late to help children who ask for assistance but clearly crave the attention of a caring adult…

Teaching is the most difficult — but most rewarding — work I have ever done. It is, however, art, not science. A student’s learning will never be measured by any test, and I do not believe the current trend in education will lead to adults better prepared for the workforce, or to better citizens. For the sake of students, our legislators must reach this same conclusion before good teachers give up the profession — and the children — they love.”

Here is another reason to opt your children out of state testing. The state plans to collect data on every student throughout their lives, on the nutty belief that someone somewhere will figure out from this Big Data “what works.”

This massive collection of data reflects the NSA’s conviction that the best way to stop terrorism is to listen to every phone call and read every email of everyone in the U.S. and abroad.

Maybe these will be the jobs of the future: reading “private” emails, listening to “private” phone calls, reviewing the confidential information of students.

Sounds like East Germany’s Stasi, not America.

The Gates Foundation has spent $200 million or so to pay for the Common Core standards. Gates paid for everything because the U.S. Department of Education is prohibited by law from doing anything that might control, direct,or supervise curriculum or instruction. Of course, this did not stop Arne Duncan from shelling out $350 million to pay for new online tests of the Common Core. The tests will certainly influence, direct, and control curriculum and instruction, which is expressly forbidden. But why quibble over the law?

As you read on, recall that Gates paid for everything: the writing, development, evaluation, implementation, and promotion of the Common Core. There are very few education advocacy groups that have not received millions from Gates.

Now Vicki Phillips, who directs the education program at Gates, has written an article to remind us–in case the PR machine is offline–why we desperately need Common Core, why teachers and other educators are warmly embracing it, and how wildly popular it is. She admits that she is baffled by people who call on states and districts to slow down, stop or reverse this wonderful progress. Maybe that refers to Randi Weingarten and the teachers of New York.

One thing is clear, if inadvertently. The standards and the testing are portrayed as integral to states’ ability to evaluate teachers by test scores. All the pieces fit together. You are not supposed to have just the standards, you must have the whole package. That is the Gates Foundation’s vision.

Phillips is obviously unsettled by the controversies erupting in state after state, from left and right, about the standards and the tests. But she does not mention of the public hearings in New York, where thousands of parents berated the Common Core. The foundation seems to be in denial about the pushback against its prize program, the linchpin of wholesale change.

Common Core, she assures us, will get all students ready for college. But how does she know that? What if Common Core creates the results nationally that it did in New York, where only 3% of English learners passed? Where only 5% of students with disabilities passed? Where more than 80% of African American and Hispanic students failed? What if most students can’t clear the bar that the Gates Foundation raised so high? What will our society do with the many students who give up or fail? Will the Gates Foundation tell us what to do to help them? And when everyone goes to college, will the college diploma be devalued? Will there be jobs for them, or will they be truck drivers and retail clerks with a diploma and a load of college debt?

Just wondering.

I will be in Raleigh, North Carolina, on February 11 to participate in the Emerging Issues Forum. It brings together strong partisans from very different perspectives. The focus seems to be about recruiting and retaining the best teachers. It is an ironic time to discuss this topic when North Carolina teachers are feeling besieged by punitive legislation that is encouraging senior teachers to leave not only the profession, but the state. After I speak in Raleigh, I will go to Durham to the Holton Center for a conversation with parents, community leaders, and educators, from 1:30-3 pm.

Here is the agenda for the two-day forum:

29th Annual Emerging Issues Forum

Teachers and the Great Economic Debate

Raleigh Convention Center, February 10-11, 2014

Monday, February 10, 2014

8:00 – 8:20 a.m.​Opening Session

W. Randolph Woodson, Chancellor, NC State University

James B. Hunt, Jr., Former Governor, State of North Carolina & Chair, Institute for Emerging Issues
Anita R. Brown-Graham, Director, Institute for Emerging Issues

8:20 – 9:00 a.m.​Where are the Smartest Kids in the World?

Goal: To remind the audience why teacher quality is an emerging issue, and why it demands North Carolina’s attention. Rather than providing specific policy recommendations, the goal of this session is to demonstrate ways in which other countries have approached the issues of teacher quality and its impact on student performance and ultimately economic development. It will also be a “call to action” for the audience to begin thinking about how they can contribute to the broader discussion.

Introduction by Walter McDowell (Confirmed), Board Chair, BEST NC and Retired Executive, Wachovia Bank

Amanda Ripley (Confirmed), Author, The Smartest Kids in the World – And How They Got That Way

Having most recently authored The Smartest Kids in the World – And How They Got That Way, Ripley will share international comparison data as well as patterns of transformation within the teaching profession that have led to positive change in other countries.

9:00 – 9:30 a.m.​Lessons from Finland

Goal: To connect national and North Carolina stories to those of other nations. This session will highlight what leaders in Europe and Southeast Asia are doing to address teacher quality with an eye toward improving their nation’s overall competitiveness.

What is it about the teaching profession that impacts every industry and every individual? How are other countries tackling this issue? What potential impact can focusing on improving teacher quality have on student performance and ultimately a nation’s competitiveness?

Introduction / Moderation by John Tate (Confirmed), Member, NC State Board of Education and Retired Executive, Wachovia Bank

Pasi Sahlberg (Confirmed), Director General of the Centre for International Mobility and Cooperation (CIMO) in Helsinki, Finland
In recent years, the country of Finland has produces out some of the
highest test scores in the world. This is due to the country’s investment in a knowledge based economy and a conscious strategy, developed in the 1970s, to be globally competitive. As a result, Finland has a tremendous commitment to highly trained teachers and they have committed to an equitable foundation of learning for all citizens regardless of family background, socioeconomic status or learning ability. Finnish teachers have a highly individualized focus on students with an array of options available to them. Salaries are benchmarked with other white-collared professions and assessment of learning is done for the application of knowledge, not memorization. Teachers assess students with independent tests they create themselves rather than high-stakes standardized tests. With all of these strategies, Finland’s educational results outperform other countries with lower per pupil funding.

9:30 – 9:40 a.m.​Technology / Collaboration: What is a World Class Teacher?

Forum attendees will engage in table discussions about what they just heard, how it resonates with their current beliefs and where the opportunity is for consensus on NC’s direction moving forward. Discussion items will be captured through technology.

9:40 – 9:50 a.m.​Break

9:50 – 10:40 a.m.​Who are These Teachers and What is Their Value?
Goal: How can we identify world-class teachers? What is the link between high-quality teachers and a well-educated and well-paid workforce. What impact do high quality teachers have on our state’s economy?

Introduction by Phil Berger (Invited), Senator, North Carolina General Assembly

Raj Chetty (Confirmed), Bloomberg Professor of Economics at Harvard University
Chetty’s study on the long-term economic impact of high value-added educators shows that students assigned to high value-add teachers are more likely to have higher lifetime earnings. Other students outcomes influence by a quality teacher include the opportunity to attend college, live in higher socioeconomic status neighborhoods, and save more for retirement.

Helen “Sunny” Ladd (Confirmed), Edgar T. Thompson Distinguished Professor of Public Policy and Economics, Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy

Ladd has written extensively about teacher quality using longitudinal data in North Carolina. She will respond to Dr. Chetty’s session, addressing why value add is a limited way to determine teacher effectiveness and highlighting the importance experience plays in identifying world-class teachers.

10:40 – 10:50 a.m.​Technology / Collaboration: _______________________
Forum attendees will engage in table discussions about what they just heard, how it resonates with their current beliefs, and where the opportunity is for consensus on NC’s direction moving forward. Discussion items will be captured through technology.

10:50 – 11:00 a.m.​Break

11:00 – 12:35 p.m.​The Pathways and Programs in the War for Talent

11:00 – 11:25 a.m.​Building a Better Pipeline

​Goal: To highlight the importance of having an effective talent development strategy for our state’s teachers, this TED-style session will have representatives of very different industries sharing best practices in talent development as it is done in other sectors.

​Moderated by Tom Williams (Confirmed), President, Strategic Educational Alliances, Inc.

​Virgil Smith (Confirmed), Vice President / Talent Acquisition & Diversity, Gannett

Willy Stewart (Confirmed), CEO, Stewart Inc. and i2 Integrated Intelligence

​Director of Nursing at Duke University (Suggested)

11:25 – 12:00 p.m ​Recruiting the Best
Goal: To highlight several innovative approaches to recruiting, preparing and supporting high quality teachers. We will investigate what practices School of Education Programs are implementing to ensure teachers enter the classroom with the most effective pedagogical practices as well as alternative approaches to recruiting and preparing the best students and professionals into the field of teaching.

Glenda W. Crawford (Confirmed), Director of Teaching Fellows, Elon University, School of Education, National Teaching Fellows Program

Elon’s National Teaching Fellows Program is a national model for the preparation of teacher leaders and scholars who will contribute meaningfully and significantly to the quality of education in PreK-12 classrooms and who will be influential in political decision-making on the local, state, national, and international levels.

Tyronna Hooker (Confirmed), Director of District and Community Partnerships, Teach for America, Eastern NC Region
There are 230 corps members teaching at every grade level, and almost 500 alumni leading in a variety of sectors in the 10 counties that make up the Eastern NC region. Independent studies in North Carolina have demonstrated that TFA teachers have an immediate and pronounced effect on student achievement.

Commons Story: North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences’ Educator Treks.

• A program that takes educators from all fields for nature treks to experience hands-on learning experience, while delivering the curriculum materials for them to return to the classroom with their new knowledge.

• This story will demonstrate how professional development, especially professional development outside of the school environment, serves to strengthen the profession. Community-school partnerships like this provide development and experiences teacher do not normally find inside the school environment.

12:00 – 12:35 p.m.​Keeping the Best

Ann Maddock (Confirmed), Senior Advisor, New Teacher Center

The Business Roundtable, an association of chief executive officers of leading U.S. companies, recently recognized New Teacher Center (NTC) as one of five outstanding K-12 education programs that have demonstrated a strong potential for helping prepare more U.S. K-12 students for college and the workplace. NTC is committed to supporting on-going growth as a “teacher of teachers” through a comprehensive teacher induction program model and a wide range of available professional development, communities of practice, products, and free resources.

Elizabeth Kolb Cunningham (Confirmed), Director, NC New Teacher Support Program (NC NTSP)
The goal of the North Carolina New Teacher Support Program (NC NTSP) is to improve the effectiveness of beginning teachers through intensive induction support aligned to each teacher’s individual needs, teaching assignment, and school environment. NC NTSP serves beginning teachers in their first years of teaching by providing intensive institute “boot camps”, direct, individualized classroom instruction, and aligned professional development sessions.

Angela Hinson Quick (Confirmed), Senior Vice President for Talent Development, NC New Schools
North Carolina New Schools believes that real and lasting educational change begins and ends in the classroom, with teachers who know their subject as well as the skills that students need to succeed and thrive in a changing world. NCNS helps make this happen by providing intensive and proven coaching for teachers and principals in classroom instruction and supportive leadership. Educators benefit from well planned professional development activities that provide access to practical, challenging strategies and opportunities to collaborate with experts from across the state and nation.

Ruben Carbonell (Confirmed), Director, Kenan Institute for Engineering Technology & Science, home of the Kenan Fellows Program, North Carolina State University

The Kenan Fellows Program improves K-12 STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) teaching and education by providing relevant, professional learning and leadership development for exceptional teachers through innovative collaborations with research partners in industry, higher education, and government. Providing professional exposure opportunities for North Carolina teachers helps to bring relevancy into the classroom, connects teachers, and enriches learning opportunities for teachers and students.​

12:35 – 2:00 p.m.​LUNCH

What Drives Performance?
Goal: To explore the three elements (autonomy, mastery and purpose) of true motivation and what this means for how we pay our state’s teachers. What impact does “merit pay” have on student performance? How would raising the base pay for teacher affect prospective teachers? Existing teachers? What does this mean for poor performing teachers?

Introduction by Jayne Fleener (Confirmed), Dean, College of Education, NC State University

Daniel H. Pink (Confirmed), New York Times and Wall Street Journal best-selling author
As presented in his book, Drive – The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, Daniel Pink shares how research disproves the notion that the best way to motivate others is with external rewards like money. He will share with us how the secret to performance and satisfaction is the deeply human need to direct our own lives, to learn and create new things and to do better by ourselves and our world. Dan Pink will share with us what all this means in regards to ways in which we best tackle the question of “how we train, retain, and support teachers in every classroom.

2:00 – 2:15 p.m.​Break (Voting Closes for High School Prize)

2:15 – 3:20 p.m.​Solution Sessions:

The solution sessions are focused on the four questions developed from the IEI Working Group. Forum attendees will be able to learn about initiatives across the state that are focusing on solving questions with the goal of training, retaining and supporting a world-class teacher in every classroom. These four sessions include:

(1) How can we design and fund a competitive compensation system that attracts and retains world-class talent in the teaching profession?

(2) In what ways can we ensure high performance standards for teaching are met from entry to retirement?

(3) How do we ensure enhanced societal value and globally competitive students by elevating the status of the teaching profession in North Carolina?

(4) How can we ensure access to comprehensive, high-quality and relevant professional development for teachers?

3:20 – 3:55 p.m.​ Charting a Path Forward

Goal: Governor McCrory will highlight the immediate action steps that the state is taking in education. He will also speak to his office’s future plans on public education in North Carolina, and his thoughts on the ideas from the Forum.

Introduction by James B. Hunt, Jr.

Pat McCrory (Invited), Governor, State of North Carolina

Governor McCrory has supported providing for Career and Technical Education pathways for students, including overhauling the way that CTE teachers are certified. Also in regards to North Carolina’s teachers, Governor McCrory has pushed for merit pay for teachers, as well as the expansion of charter schools and digital/online learning.

3:55 – 4:10 p.m.​Awarding the Emerging Issues Prize for Innovation

W. Randolph Woodson
Governor Pat McCrory

Prior to announcement, video collage of finalists to be show
High School Prize Winner (show video)

Commons Story: Financial Literacy in the Classroom

• Fidelity Investments and the North Carolina Council on Economic Education have partnered to train Wake County educators in teaching financial literacy and money-management skills to high school students.

• This story highlights how Corporate-Teacher partnerships can influence the lives and education of students. The program has reached over 144,000 NC students through Career and Technical Education teachers.

4:10 – 4:55 p.m. ​Teacher Quality: Identifying Our Respective Responsibilities
Goal: To wrap up day one with a clear understanding teacher quality is something that should be important to all of us, no matter our background or profession. A transformational change will require support from all sectors. This session will respond also to the question: With so many aspects of education reform in debate, why focus on improving teaching / teachers?

Introduction by___________

​Rex Tillerson (Invited), Chairman, CEO & President, Exxon Mobil Corporation. Exxon Mobile has identified K-12 education as an investment priority and, as a result, is investing its resources to support the professional development of teachers across the nation. Also, as chairman of the Business Roundtable’s Education and Workforce Committee, Mr. Tillerson has led the national conversation about the influence of exceptional teachers on student learning and its connections to the quality of our nation’s global workforce.

4:55 – 5:00 p.m.​Closing
James B. Hunt, Jr.

5:00 – 6:00 p.m.​Open Reception

6:00 – 8:15 p.m.​Leadership Dinner

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

8:00 – 8:10 a.m.​Insights on the NC Strategy for World-Class Teachers
Anita R. Brown-Graham

8:10 – 8:20 a.m​ Recognizing the SECU Prize for Innovation Winners
​(SECU Representative) (Suggested)

8:20 – 9:10 a.m.​Teacher Town Hall Hosted by the 2013-14 NC Teacher of the Year
Goal: Recognizing that the voice of a teacher who has left the classroom is one that is rarely heard, this Teacher Town Hall conversation will engage several former teachers who were high performing in the classroom. It will help the audience appreciate that when a high-quality teacher decides to leave the classroom, we lose on student outcomes. While little room for career advancement and relatively low pay are often cited as the primary reasons teachers leave the profession, a non-supportive work environment as well as a lack of supportive and shared leadership has led some of the best and most passionate teachers to leave the classroom. This group will respond to questions around reasons they left the profession and what they think it will take to retain high-quality teachers in NC.

Moderated by John Merrow (Invited), Education Consultant for PBS Newshour and President of Learning Matters

Hosted by Karyn Dickerson (Confirmed), 2013-14 North Carolina Teacher of the Year, Guilford County Schools

Jen Colletti (Confirmed), Former East Chapel Hill High School Teacher

9:10 – 9:50 a.m.​Strength and Quality Through Professionalization
Goal: Diane Ravitch has recently written at length on the impact that professionalization has on teachers. She will speak to how strict professional standards, based in pedagogical research, should be applied to teachers and school administrators. She will also describe how standards for the teaching profession can be brought into alignment with other respected professional such as law and medicine.

Introduction by Karyn Dickerson (Confirmed), 2013-14 North Carolina Teacher of the Year, Guilford County Schools

Diane Ravitch (Confirmed), Research Professor, New York University
Diane Ravitch is an education policy analyst and historian at New York University. In addition, she served in the Clinton and G.W. Bush administrations. Her book, The Death and Life of the Great American School System was a national bestseller, which addressed issues with high-stakes testing and quantifying teacher quality. Her latest book, Reign of Error, warns against the privatizing of the public school system. She is being invited to share her thoughts on how high-stakes testing, the move to charter schools, and competitive teacher performance measures are damaging the teaching profession. Furthermore, she will argue that teacher de-selection is unfairly punishing teachers who are not given the tools to succeed or who are working with special student populations.

Commons Story: Project L.I.F.T.

• Project L.I.F.T., which is revitalizing 9 Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools, shows how business partnerships and redesigned school policies can turn around failing schools. Project L.I.F.T. has raised $55 million in private funds to support its venture.
• More importantly though, it has restructured many of its teacher policies- allowing for teachers to be paid more, and pursue leadership roles without having to leave the classroom. Increases in teacher pay has not come through private funds, but rather the innovate structuring of their school’s personnel within normal salary funding.

9:50 – 10:40 a.m.​Exploring the Choices Before Us
Goal: To make clear the places where we need to make critical choices in order to improve teacher quality. While the impact of a high quality teacher is clear, how we build a world-class teaching workforce is debatable. Do we remove low performing teachers? Or do we work to support and develop them? How do we think about pay? How do we assess?

Moderated by John Merrow (Invited)

Rick Hess (Confirmed), Director of Education Policy Studies, American Enterprise Institute
Frederick Hess is an education policy analyst from the American Enterprise Institute. He has authored several books on education reform, as well as supporting a school district turn plan in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Mr. Hess has recently published a 9-point reform of the teaching profession, entitled Teacher Quality 2.0. He will speak on how his reform plan of de-centralizing education authority will improve the teaching profession. Some of his strategies include the use of charters and vouchers, de-selecting teachers, and reforming teacher tenure.

Bryan Hassel (Confirmed), Co-Director, Public Impact.
​Bryan Hassel is director of Public Impact, an educational consulting group. He will speak about how extending the reach of quality teachers through technology, mentorships, and increasing their class sizes provide opportunities for teachers to be promoted. He will elaborate on how, through the work of Opportunity Culture, his organization uses differential pay to attract and retain the highest quality teachers, and how this translates into an elevated view of teachers as professionals. In addition, he will share how Public Impact works focuses on the policies and approaches to recruiting, selecting, evaluating, developing, compensating and retaining high-performing teachers and leaders.

10:40 – 11:00 a.m.​What Are the Choices Before Us?
Anita R. Brown-Graham
Goal: To share the work of the IEI Working Group, what was heard during the breakout sessions and how the technology sessions are being used to collect their ideas on ways to address these important questions. During the final technology session of the day, attendees will be asked to prioritize these ideas, which will be used to guide the work of the Teacher Ambassadors throughout their post-forum MOOC-Ed experience.

​Technology / Collaboration: Prioritizing Ideas from the Solution Sessions
Forum attendees will engage in table discussions about what they just heard, how it resonates with their current beliefs and where the opportunity is for consensus on NC’s direction moving forward. Discussion items will be captured through technology.

11:00 – 11:10 a.m.​Break

11:10 – 12:00 p.m.​State-Level Policy and Financing Our Options
Goal: To bring North Carolina leaders together to discuss policy options and how we finance the way forward. Any changes in public education regarding teacher pay, more individualized instruction or other policy options inevitably must include a discussion of how to fund the proposals. This session will feature North Carolina leaders in a discussion of how North Carolina should move forward in prioritizing its efforts to reform public education including financing the policy changes considered during the two-day Emerging Issues Forum. State leadership support must include identifying the resources to pay for initiatives.

Moderated by: Richard Stevens (Confirmed), Counsel, Smith, Anderson, Blount, Dorsett, Mitchell & Jernigan, L.L.P.

Education Facts Presented by: Trip Stallings (Invited), Director of Policy Research, The Friday Institute for Educational Innovation
Rick Glazier (Confirmed), Representative, North Carolina General Assembly
Bryan Holloway (Confirmed), Representative, North Carolina General Assembly
Craig Horn (Confirmed), Representative, North Carolina General Assembly
Earline Parmon (Confirmed), Senator, North Carolina General Assembly
​Jerry Tillman (Invited), Senator, North Carolina General Assembly

12:00 – 12:10 p.m.​Technology / Collaboration: ______________
Forum attendees will engage in table discussions about what they just heard, how it resonates with their current beliefs, and where the opportunity is for consensus on NC’s direction moving forward. Discussion items will be captured through technology.

12:10 – 12:40 p.m.​One State’s Approach to Teacher Quality
Goal: To highlight the comprehensive reform package for K-12 education planned by the State of Tennessee, particularly as it applies to teachers. How will decision on evaluation and compensation effect North Carolina? What strategies should North Carolina consider as it seeks to move forward?

Introduction by: James B. Hunt, Jr. (Confirmed), Former Governor, State of North Carolina & Chair, Institute for Emerging Issues

​Bill Haslam, (Confirmed), Governor of Tennessee
Governor of Tennessee, Bill Haslam has made improvements to public education a top priority for his administration. Recently, Tennessee’s students were the most improved in national benchmarks. Gov. Haslam has made pledges to overhaul teacher evaluation systems, and to move teacher pay in Tennessee from the bottom 20% to the most competitive in the nation.

Commons Story: North Carolina Safe Routes to School
• A program that encourages children and parents to walk, or bicycle to schools, while facilitating projects that make pedestrian pathways to school safer.
• Embracing a whole school, whole child approach to child safety, healthy lifestyles, and community design. Safe Routes to School has provided improved school and community infrastructure where it has not existed before, especially for rural schools.

12:40 – 2:00 p.m.​Lunch
​The Influence of a World-Class Teacher
​Goal: To wrap up all we’ve heard over the past two days and to provide proof that this work is possible. The influence of a world-class teacher does stretch far beyond the classroom, to our state’s future workforce.

​Introduction by: _____________________​​​

​Ron Clark (Confirmed), Founder and Mathematics Teacher, The Ron Clark Academy Ron Clark has been called “America’s Educator”. In 2000, he was named Disney’s American Teacher of the Year. He is a New York Times bestselling author whose book, The Essential 55, has sold over 1 million copies and have been published in 25 different countries. Ron Clark has directly impacted the community around his schools, his students, the state of Georgia and countless others through his educating teachers across the globe. He will share with Forum attendees how building a world-class teaching workforce is not only necessary, but POSSIBLE; leaving attendees with a charge to roll up their sleeves and do their part to improve teacher quality. Our students deserve it; our state deserves it!

2:00 – 2:15 p.m.​Closing
James B. Hunt, Jr.,
Anita R. Brown-Graham

Newly released state report cards show that 53% of independent charter schools in Milwaukee are not meeting expectations.

Erin Richards of the Journal-Sentinel writes:

Despite having more freedom over curriculum, budgets and staffing than traditional public schools, the majority of Milwaukee’s independent charter schools are not meeting performance expectations, according to statewide report card results for 2012-’13.

Of the 17 independent charters in Milwaukee that received a rating through the state’s new school report card accountability system, 53% fell below expectations, with two schools authorized by the City of Milwaukee receiving a failing grade.

The report cards released by the state this month are not perfect measures of school progress, but the results still raise questions about whether independent charters should be producing better results. The schools are publicly financed but privately managed, and are given freedom from bureaucratic restraints on school districts in exchange for upholding a promise to deliver on performance.

“It’s pretty clear we all have work to do,” said Cindy Zautcke, who directs the City of Milwaukee’s charter school initiative.

The discussion about performance is also pertinent because of a new law the state Legislature passed this spring that allows independent charter schools to expand to the five-county Milwaukee area, if the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee agrees to authorize the potential schools.

In addition:

A total of 18 independent charter schools were rated, including 17 in Milwaukee and one in Racine. Together those rated schools enrolled almost 7,500 students.

■ In Milwaukee, independent charters authorized by UWM posted better overall grades than schools authorized by Milwaukee’s Common Council. The average report card score out of 100 for UWM charters was 65.7, compared with 57.8 for the city’s charter schools.

■ As a sector, Milwaukee’s independent charter schools outscored Milwaukee Public Schools. Among independent charters in the city, 47% met or exceeded the state’s expectations. In MPS, 25% of the rated schools met or exceeded expectations.

■ But on a percentage basis, the 134 schools rated in MPS educated three times as many students learning English and twice as many students with special needs, compared with independent charters. The charter schools enrolled a lower percentage of white students and lower percentage of students in poverty than MPS.

The leader of the local charter school association said the report cards were not a good measure of school quality.

The two City of Milwaukee-authorized schools that received the lowest grade, “fails to meet expectations,” were Milwaukee Math and Science Academy and Milwaukee Collegiate Academy, formerly called CEO Leadership Academy and connected to voucher school advocate Howard Fuller.

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This reviewer enjoyed the book and says she learned a lot. But she felt turned off by the tone of some of the comments on the blog. Some are nasty, some are sarcastic. I told her that many readers are frustrated and feel powerless because the tiny elite that now controls education doesn’t listen.

As readers know, I don’t censor comments except for cursing and vendettas. When the tone turns vicious, I block the writer altogether.

Otherwise, join in. We need a place where parents and teachers can speak their minds and exchange ideas and opinions, fears and hopes, while getting the latest news

President Obama continues his policy of using the State of the Union to demonstrate the gap between what he says and what his administration does.

Valerie Strauss carefully dissects that speech here in reference to education.

Once again, he warned that it was time to get away from “fill-in-the-bubble” standardized tests, perhaps unaware that the new federally-funded Common Core tests were made by the same old, same old and will  of course demand even more filling in of even more bubbles.

Once again, he lauded his Race to the Top initiative, oblivious to the fact that its emphasis on using fill-in-the-bubble standardized tests to judge teacher quality has been a disaster.

And of course, he failed to recognize that his RTTT emphasis on charter schools and choice has opened a giant door wide for advocates of vouchers, who now want all federal funding to be channeled into vouchers for 11 million students. Once you abandon public schools, as the Obama administration has done, it is hard to stop the forces of privatization. Once you give away the civic purpose of public schooling, it is hard to argue against those who prefer consumer choice to civic obligation.

We will live with the negative consequences of Race to the Top for many years to come. If only President Obama had the wisdom to realize the damage he has done to one of our nation’s most important institutions.

In state after state, entrepreneurs are seizing on opportunities to make a buck, Common Core is absorbing tens or hundreds of millions of dollars, teachers and principals are demoralized.

Some accomplishment.