Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Put on your walking shoes. Get Schooled moved today

The time has come. I dragged my feet but I have now packed and moved to the newspaper’s new blogging home, joining my AJC colleagues in a platform more congenial to a mobile world.

Please move with me.

If the only way you read my blog is by clicking a link from the AJC home page, you won’t notice any difference until you arrive. But  if you have my blog bookmarked or new posts delivered through an RSS feed — and I highly recommend doing one or both, for the sake of your convenience and my readership numbers — you will need these new links:

Blog: http://www.ajc.com/s/get-schooled/

RSS: http://www.ajc.com/rss/weblog_entries/get-schooled/

Some official details about the new blog platform:

•You must register an account.

•If you are active on the blogs, you have already done this and are well on your way to being the first commenter on this new blog — something that seems to matter a lot to the posters over in sports. If not, you’ll need to click on the “Sign In/Register” …

Continue reading Put on your walking shoes. Get Schooled moved today »

Clayton County school board chair: Today marks culmination of long road to making schools better

Dr. Pam Adamson, chair of the Clayton County Board of Education, expects SACS to deliver a key report to the district this afternoon. (Jason Getz jgetz@ajc.com)

Dr. Pam Adamson, chair of the Clayton County Board of Education, expects SACS to deliver a key report to the district this afternoon. (Jason Getz jgetz@ajc.com)

Dr. Pam Adamson, chair of the Clayton County Board of Education, wrote this piece in anticipation of this week’s visit by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The SACS accreditation team has been in Clayton since Monday.

By Pam Adamson

Clayton County Schools has had a tumultuous history with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and its parent organization, AdvancED, for many years starting in the early 2000s. After years of warnings and failed opportunities to comply with its standards, SACS withdrew accreditation from Clayton County schools in August of 2008.

The district had become a swinging door of instability with regular staff turnover, including leadership at the highest levels. The Board of Education was in a state of turmoil at that time, with some board members having resigned, some …

Continue reading Clayton County school board chair: Today marks culmination of long road to making schools better »

Florida teachers file lawsuit today to stop evaluations that rely on test scores

charterartThe controversy over basing teacher evaluations on student performance now moves to a courtroom in Florida after teachers there filed suit today contending the review process violates their rights.

Filed in the District Court of the United States for the Northern District, the lawsuit targets a new evaluation system that tries to measure how much value a teacher has added to a student’s learning — even when there are no direct test scores to weigh.

(Seventy percent of teachers in Georgia teach in non-tested areas; the state intends to use a portfolio model, which will look at student demonstrated proficiency in such areas as music, foreign languages and art.)

The lawsuit maintains that evaluating teachers on the test scores of students they don’t teach or from subjects they don’t teach violates the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment.

The lawsuit summary states:

The majority of teachers in Florida are being evaluated in the same arbitrary …

Continue reading Florida teachers file lawsuit today to stop evaluations that rely on test scores »

Atlanta’s grades on ‘Nation’s Report Card’ at odds with CRCT cheating scandal

Marshall S. Smith is a former under-secretary in the U. S. Department of Education. Nominated by President Bill Clinton, he served from 1993 to 2000.

Prior to his appointment as Under Secretary, Smith was a professor of education and Dean of the Graduate School of Education at Stanford University. Previously, he was an associate professor at Harvard Graduate School of Education and a professor at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, where he also served as the Director of the Wisconsin Center for Education Research. Smith earned both a master’s (1963) and a doctoral (1970) degree in measurement and statistics from the Harvard Graduate School of Education

In this guest column, he discusses an oddity of the APS cheating scandal: The system was showing notable progress on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, which is known as the Nation’s Report Card. It wasn’t that Atlanta was leading the nation, but its progress was significant.

When we have discussed this in the …

Continue reading Atlanta’s grades on ‘Nation’s Report Card’ at odds with CRCT cheating scandal »

Mark Elgart: Accreditation means a quality, standardized education

Dr. Mark Elgart is the founding president and CEO of AdvancED, the parent organization for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement  as well as the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement and the Northwest Accreditation Commission, headquartered in Alpharetta.

By Mark Elgart

School accreditation is an honor, a mark of distinction as well as an acknowledgement that the education offerings of a school, school system, college or university meet standards, benchmarks and performance criteria in the advancement of student achievement. In the United States, for K-12 schools, accreditation is also completely voluntary, and all accrediting agencies are selected and invited to review and accredit by the school or school system seeking or maintaining that accreditation.

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) was founded in 1895 at the Georgia Institute of Technology. SACS …

Continue reading Mark Elgart: Accreditation means a quality, standardized education »

Did Michelle Rhee ignore her own cheating scandal? A new memo suggests clear evidence was discounted.

Michelle Rhee speaking to Georgia lawmakers last year. (AJC Photo)

Michelle Rhee speaking to Georgia lawmakers last year. (AJC Photo)

PBS education reporter John Merrow writes about the erasure analyses, clear evidence of cheating and concealment of that evidence.

No, he is not writing about Atlanta Public Schools and former Superintendent Beverly Hall. He is writing about Washington, D.C., and former Chancellor Michelle Rhee.

Merrow questions why the strong evidence of cheating in the District of Columbia Public Schools — revealed now in a confidential memo — was not followed up as it was in Atlanta, and puts the blame on Rhee.

He says an inexperienced and ambitious Rhee arrived in Washington and imposed a  “Produce or Else” reform model. He notes that Rhee met one-on-one with each principal and demanded a signed guarantee of exactly how many points their test scores would increase.

Rhee has become a national leader in education and holds great sway with state Legislatures, including here in Georgia. She is winning converts to the …

Continue reading Did Michelle Rhee ignore her own cheating scandal? A new memo suggests clear evidence was discounted. »

Do weaker math students end up with weaker teachers?

math (Medium)We’ve spent a lot of time on this blog discussing the under performance of Georgia students in math.

We’ve debated the controversial and now abandoned math reforms introduced by former state school chief Kathy Cox, which stumbled in part because teachers were not adequately trained. We’ve talked about whether the problem owes to what’s being taught or who’s teaching it

Here’s some fodder to further our debate. Education Week has an interesting piece on new research on math instruction and teacher assignments. Please read the full piece in Ed Week before commenting.

An excerpt:

In many schools in the United States, students struggling the most in mathematics at the start of high school have the worst odds of getting a qualified teacher in the subject, new research finds. Succeeding in freshman-level mathematics is critical for students to stay on track to high school graduation, with students who make poor grades in math in 8th and 9th grades more likely to leave school …

Continue reading Do weaker math students end up with weaker teachers? »

How two South Georgia districts ended segregated proms: Lessons from Turner and Montgomery counties

Update Friday: Better Georgia, a self-described progressive advocacy group, asked Gov. Nathan Deal to take a public stand supporting the efforts of four Wilcox County High School seniors to hold an integrated prom in a community where segregated private proms have been the tradition.

The group was disappointed with his response to its request, which addressed who was asking — Better Georgia — rather than the issue of the prom itself.

It sent out this statement today:

According to a report from Macon’s largest television station, 13 WMAZ, the governor’s spokesman, Brian Robinson, said Deal “won’t take sides” because “this is a leftist front group for the state Democratic party and we’re not going to lend a hand to their silly publicity stunt.”

Better Georgia is an independent, non-partisan organization and is not affiliated with any political party. The progressive advocacy group has challenged all Georgia elected officials to publicly support the students of Wilcox County …

Continue reading How two South Georgia districts ended segregated proms: Lessons from Turner and Montgomery counties »

A ‘kissing cousin’ of segregated proms: segregated high school reunions. Are they common?

A reader of the segregated prom blog sent me a note about something that DeKalb school chief Michael Thurmond referenced in a recent speech, racially segregated class reunions.

Thurmond said that his high school graduating class — he attended high school in Athens and was among the first black students to attend high school with white students — holds two reunions divided by race.  “We have come a long way. But we have a long way to go,” he said.

Like racially segregated proms, these reunion events are not officially sponsored or organized by the high schools, so the guest list can be selective if the organizers so desire.

And apparently, sometimes organizers do limit who’s included in the planning and notifications. A friend went to her high school reunion in South Carolina. She, too, graduated in one of the first integrated classes and expected to see both black and white classmates at the reunion.

But only white students were there.  When she asked one of the organizers …

Continue reading A ‘kissing cousin’ of segregated proms: segregated high school reunions. Are they common? »

Reading between the lines: Florida’s retention program is not worth replicating

Paul Thomas, a Furman University associate professor of education, writes about range of education issues, including the push in South Carolina to follow Florida’s retention policy. This is his second appearance on the Get Schooled blog, but you can read more of his stuff at his “becoming radical” blog.

Thomas sent me this opinion column on the issue of retention. Retention is still one of education’s most hotly debate topics. State policy says Georgia students in grades 3, 5 and 8 should repeat the year when they fail certain standardized tests. But it seldom happens.

The AJC found that districts promote the vast majority of  students even if they fail the retest or blow it off altogether.

Here is an excerpt of the 2008 AJC story:

The AJC obtained state databases — with students’ names removed — that contained spring CRCT scores, summer retest scores and students’ grade level the following fall for 2006 and 2007. In total, the newspaper examined nearly 800,000 …

Continue reading Reading between the lines: Florida’s retention program is not worth replicating »