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Februaru 13

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February 2

  • Dismantling Public Accountability & Transparency in the Name of Accountability & Transparency?, Bruce Baker, School Finance 101
      ...Whatever problems do exist with the design of our public bureaucracies, I would argue that we should exercise extreme caution in accepting uncritically the belief that we could not possibly do worse, and that large scale privatization and contracting of private entities to provide the public good is necessarily a better and more responsive, more efficient, transparent and accountable option.

February 1

January 31

  • Legislative bills blur outlook for Maine schools, Noel Gallagher, Press Herald
      ...In addition to battling over how much state money should flow to schools, educators must find money for several major initiatives launched under the LePage administration

January 30

January 29

January 28

January 25

  • The real problem with multiple-choice tests, Terry Heick, Answer Sheet
      ...There is nothing wrong with being uncertain. ...In fact, it has often been said that the more a person learns, the less they’re ever sure of. This shouldn’t mean that students always lack confidence, but rather the opposite: that all stakeholders in education clarify that learning is a messy process chock-full of uncertainty, iteration and revision, and that anything tidy stemming from this untidy process should be questioned.
  • LePage's plan to cover budget gap with casino revenue questioned, Noel Gallagher, Press Herald
      ..."These were carefully crafted and difficult compromises, with a social good coming out of what some of us would call a social ill,"

January 24

  • National group gives Maine D+ for teacher training, Christopher Cousins, Bangor Daily News
      ..."With so much attention on the issue of teacher effectiveness, the relative lack of attention to how candidates for teaching are prepared for the job in the first place is puzzling,” said Walsh in a news release. “Our teachers deserve the very best preparation so that they can step into the classroom and help our students prepare to be the most successful in the world."
  • State lawmakers introduce bill requiring gun-safety courses in public schools, Scott Thistle, Sun Journal

      ...Both Black and Davis said the intent was not to add another unfunded mandate to Maine public schools. They said they believed local groups, including local fish and game clubs, as well National Rifle Association clubs, would be willing to step forward and offer the courses for little or no charge to schools.

Jsnusry 22

January 21

  • National School Choice week, Maureen Downey, Get Schooled
      ...Maine lawmakers will hear a proposal from their governor to give children school vouchers.

January 20

  • Learning the key to sparking entrepreneurial ignition, Charles Lawton, Sunday Telegram
      ... the most critical elements of our economic development policy are our middle and high school teachers. A teacher is, or ought to be, a catalyst -- an element that, without itself being consumed, enables or speeds the reaction among other elements in a process. While the term ordinarily refers to a chemical process, it is equally applicable to the learning process. Good teachers transform their students, enabling them to become what they wouldn't have been without the teacher.

January 19

  • [Question of the Day] Is spending in Maine schools...
    • A) Increasing?
    • Or, B) decreasing?
    • Extra credit: Are the costs of an adequate education in Maine increasing or decreasing? Discuss.
  • LePage's teacher-pension funding change draws criticism, Noel Gallagher, Press Herald
      ...would disproportionately affect wealthier communities. Seventy-one school districts would end up paying 100 percent of what the state had been paying toward the retirement costs of their public school teachers.

January 18

  • Operator of Web charter schools gets a bad grade, Colin Woodard, Press Herald
      ...cited concern with the school's academic performance – it has ranked in the bottom tenth of Colorado schools for three years running – and with the lack of independence of its local board, which is supposed to govern the school and oversee providers.

January 16

  • Report: Maine students ahead of nation in college readiness, Noel Gallagher, Kennebec Journal
      ...Maine’s high school graduates are less likely to need remedial courses in college than their counterparts across the nation. ...Gov. Paul LePage has regularly been a sharp critic of Maine’s public high schools. Just last week, at a press conference about charter schools, he said Maine public schools are failing because teachers are lying to their students.

January 15

  • Teachers press Augusta legislator to improve governor's tone on school issues, Susan Cover, Kennebec Journal
      Local teachers and administrators said Tuesday they are frustrated by a perceived lack of respect from Gov. Paul LePage, and they asked their local state representative to do something about it....Last week, LePage described Maine schools as near the bottom of the barrel nationally. He said if Puerto Rico were a state, Maine would finish behind even it in school results.
  • LePage's anti-public school bias is showing, Editorial, Press Herald
      ...Charter school opponents always argue that these are not public schools and that they draw resources away from public education to benefit the few at the expense of the many. We have argued against that claim, but it's getting more difficult.

January 13

  • Educators worried about upcoming GED test changes, Paul Koenig, Kennebec Journal will be some content change to better match the common core and the skills that people entering the workforce need to know, Turner said. This is because a growing number of jobs require more than a high school education. ...The GED "needs to become a stepping stone and not an ending point for a lot of people,"

January 11

January 10

January 9

  • LePage to charter school commission members: ‘Please go away’, Matthew Stone and Christopher Cousins, Bangor Daily News
      ..."Quite frankly, I felt the governor threw us under the bus this morning without any information from our commission," said Lapoint. "To say that we were being threatened by organizations within the state of Maine is so out of whack. It’s so incomprehensible that he would say that. All he had to do was talk to us and see that we made our decision the day before. We were not being threatened by anyone."
  • Augusta panel rejects 4 of 5 proposals for new charter schools, Colin Woodard, Press Herald
      ...Commission members were troubled by the local governing boards’ perceived lack of independence and the ability of the companies to successfully oversee the schools remotely. ...The company, co-founded by the convicted junk bond trader Michael Milken and former federal education secretary William J. Bennett, is the subject of an ongoing investigation in Florida over allegations that it used uncertified teachers and pressured employees to help in concealing it.
  • [The view from Vermont] Vermont Virtual Learning Cooperative
      ...provides K-12 programs and courses in a wide variety of subject areas for a variety of clients by developing specific partnerships with Vermont’s schools, teachers and organizations.
  • RheeFormy Logic & Goofball Rating Schemes: Comments & Analysis on the Students First State Policy Grades, Bruce Baker, School Finance 101
      ...Put bluntly – equitable and adequate financing for the education of all children is a prerequisite condition for achieving equitable and adequate outcomes. The Students First rating system misses this point entirely – measuring neither the equity nor adequacy – nor effort to raise these prerequisite resources.
      ...So yes – Students First has their policy preferences – and they’re certainly entitled to that. They’ve built their entire rating system on their idea of what’s good policy. They’ve not tried to justify their policy preferences in any research basis on effectiveness or efficiency of these policy preferences, nor could they. There simply is no research basis to support the vast majority of their preferences.
  • >Gates Still Doesn’t Get It! Trapped in a World of Circular Reasoning & Flawed Frameworks, Bruce Baker, School Finance 101
      ...Arguably, a more reasonable and efficient use of these quantifiable metrics in human resource management might be to use them as a knowingly noisy pre-screening tool to identify where problems might exist across hundreds of classrooms in a large district.

January 8

  • Maine's education commissioner says efforts to consolidate will continue, Scott Thistle, Sun Journal
      ..."We are asking districts to take on some really big changes in a time of very tight fiscal constraints," Bowen said. "So, in my mind, the work for the next two years really has to be, 'How do we help them do that?'"
  • Education head sees ‘obvious problem’ in charter school approval process after 4 out of 5 rejected, Christopher Cousins, Bangor Daily News
      ..."My biggest concern is potentially the chilling effect this will have on other folks putting forward applications."
  • Gates: Test Scores Not Enough for Teacher Reviews, AP, New York Times
      ...concluded in its final report on its Measures of Effective Teaching research that test scores or principal evaluations are not enough on their own. The findings mirror what teachers unions have been saying. ...more reliable systems include a balanced mix of evaluation methods: student test scores, lesson observation and student surveys.
    • Teachers union balks at push for unlimited charter schools, Noel Gallagher, Press Herald
        ...Education Commissioner Steve Bowen, speaking at a public forum on education in 2011, told the audience that "if we have five charter schools across the entire state in five years, I’d be stunned."
        ...Connerty-Marin, spokesman for the state Department of Education, said the LePage administration doesn’t want to wait. “We are pushing as quickly as possible on all fronts to provide more options for students,” he said, calling the 10-school cap “an entirely arbitrary number.”

    January 7

    • Maine education policies receive a 'D', Edward Murphy, Kennebec Journal
        ...StudentsFirst report focuses more on a state's education policies than test scores, in which Maine students have done better than the organization's findings would suggest.
    • Michelle Rhee's Group Grades States, And No One Gets an A, Andrew Ujifusa, Ed Week
        ..."Does anyone move to Louisiana or Florida for their schools?"
    • The empire Michelle Rhee built, Charles Pierce, Esquire
        ..."...Standardized testing is a crack cocaine of education. ...a reliable "tell" that "reform" has ended and that the grift has begun. A reliance on standardized testing as a metric for progress — and, it should be said, as a Procrustean scoreboard to judge whether a teacher, an administrator, or a school system are doing their jobs properly — almost guarantees that some finagling with the numbers will take place. "
    • Battle over Maine charter schools smoldering, Robert Long, Bangor Daily News
        ...administrators lodged a new complaint Monday about the state’s two new charter schools: They won’t feel any impact of $12.6 million in education aid cuts Gov. Paul LePage ordered late last month

    January 6

    • LePage charter school proposal to re-ignite legislative debate over school funding, Christopher Cousins, Bangor Daily News
        ..."I am forced to pay my taxes by law and that money goes into our local treasury. By making a private decision to go to a charter school, a family can essentially pull that money out. Just by itself that to me is a problem. It’s pretty close to taxation without representation. ...I’d rather see people putting their energy and dollars into looking at how we can adapt our needs in the 21st century and focusing on what can be done inside the public schools."
    • A Vision of Customized Learning, Multiple Pathways
        ...Our vision has students working their way through a well-defined continuum of learning, using their passions to create a path and choose how they will demonstrate their understanding of the learning.

    January 5

    • Job skills gap? Skeptic says factors tell another story, Steve Mistler, Press Herald
        ...if companies are having trouble filling jobs, it's because they're demanding more than ever from job applicants: highly specific educational training, previous experience and a willingness to work for wages that are not commensurate with the purported demand. ...companies also are demanding changes in the education system to make up for their own lack of investment in work-force training and employee development. The result ...are logjams at cash-strapped community colleges


    December 24

    December 23

    • Education Preserves Class Inequalities, Jason DeParle, New York Times
        ...Thirty years ago, there was a 31 percentage point difference between the share of prosperous and poor Americans who earned bachelor’s degrees ...Now the gap is 45 points.

    December 20

    • The Year In Research On Market-Based Education Reform: 2012 Edition, Matthew Di Carlo, Shanker Blog
        ...There was also some progress in building the growing and arguably most important body of evidence – analyses that attempt to move beyond the “charter versus district” debate, and begin to identify the actual differences between more and less successful schools, of whatever type.

    December 13, 2012

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