Smarter Balance Tests: California’s Juniors Did Well

So the Smarter Balance results are out and everyone is certain all the news is bad. The LA Times called the results sobering, while the Chronicle said they “weren’t stellar”. But in fact, California’s juniors did a good job. They qualified as “college ready” or “a year from college ready” at the same or higher…

On Changing Fortunes and Administrative Attentions

At my first school, I was looking for jobs long before they gave me my layoff notice, knowing full well I wouldn’t be called back. I had no reason to think so; my classes were well-run, my reviews were good, administrators made no requests or complaints, and in fact the ostensible reason for my departure…

Reform’s Most Recent Pivot

In America and its High Potential Kids, Andy Smarick rebukes the country for not caring about its high potential kids: In short, this country gives the impression that it doesn’t much care about such kids. We have an astonishingly under-resourced, deprioritized, and inchoate system of school supports for kids on the right side of the…

Diane Ravitch at Stanford

I went to see Diane Ravitch give a talk and then discuss education policy with Linda Darling Hammond and Eric Hanushek at the Memorial Auditorium. For the record, I think Ravitch is generally right about what’s wrong, but completely wrong about how to make things right. Hanushek is wrong about both. Olive, I think you…

Higher Standards and Santino

A couple years ago, an administrative vice principal (AVP) walked into my classroom and asked, “I’m checking up on previously ELL students who were reclassified English proficient (RFEPed) to be sure they are getting enough support. What can you tell me about Santino?” “Santino? He’s doing well. He’s gotten either a high F or a…

Transcripts vs. Reality

First published in the Mercury News, December 27, 2010. Since archived. In “Waiting for Superman,” the much-discussed documentary on charter schools, Redwood City’s Summit Preparatory Charter School is celebrated for its inclusive curriculum. All Summit students are required to take college prep and Advanced Placement courses, with no separate tracks for high-, middle- or low-achieving…

The right way to assess teacher performance

First published in the Washington Post, June 18, 2010.  This is back when I was trying to write op eds. There’s only a limited amount of topics I can limit myself to under 1000 words and have something safe for publishing. The Obama administration’s Race to the Top program demands that teachers be evaluated by student test…