State Board to take on SB 191 appeals | EdNewsColorado

With Colorado's new teacher evaluation law comes a need for a new appeal process, one that allows teachers to appeal on the grounds of "incorrect use of data." I'm not exactly sure what that means, but I do predict one thing: state-level teacher unions will hire their own psychometricians to augment their legal services, which means districts will need psychometricians, too.

Missouri School District Questioned Over Anti-Gay Web Filter -

Schools are required to filter their internet to protect children from "harmful" content, but it isn't always clear what should be considered "harmful" or who should get to decide. In this case, a filter used by a Missouri school was blocking sites like the Gay-Straight Alliance Network, while allowing sites like People Can Change, a religious-based program to convert gay men and women to heterosexuals.

Study: MRI reveals brain function differs in math-phobic children

I'm not math-phobic, but this does make me wonder what part of the brain lights up if you're afraid of having an MRI while trying to do math.

Opposing view: Testing isn't teaching –

Kevin Welner writes this opinion piece about the dangers of using test scores to measure teacher quality. Yes, a good teacher should be able to help students get higher scores, but when teaching is so much more than getting test scores, and measurement error leads us to uncertain results, it's irresponsible to put people's careers on the line and distort the purpose of school to do it.

STatistics Education Web (STEW) | American Statistical Association

I'm not doing as much with statistics education as I'd like, but this site from the ASA looked like a good resource.

About four of 10 new teachers in New Jersey do not attain tenure after their first three years, says NJEA | The Education Association of Morris

A student recently asked me about the extremely small proportion of teachers that are fired or lose their license after receiving tenure (or similar due process rights). I think the number of teachers who leave, by their own doing or not, before receiving tenure doesn't get talked about enough. If 40% of teachers don't make it past 3 years, then maybe that's serving to improve overall teacher quality before firings are necessary.

Why Some People Like TFA Somewhat Less Than Others Do | Gary Rubinstein's Blog

I get questions about Teach for America from preservice teachers, usually about the time they see the number of courses we want them to take versus the shorter path through TFA. My advice is usually pretty simple: If you just want to teach as a temporary service project, and not make it a career, then maybe (but still not certainly) TFA might be a viable option. But if you want anything more than that, and think teaching might be a career option, then the traditional route should still be your best option.

Leaders of teachers union push for pay cut - JSOnline

This isn't typical teacher union behavior, but the choice in Milwaukee to reduce salary in exchange for smaller class sizes is a sign of how tough it's been to negotiate around tight school budgets.

Vi Khan Intro on Vimeo

A lot of people thought it was odd when Vi Hart decided to join Khan Academy. The following video juxtaposing a presentation of exponential functions from Vi and Sal will give you an idea why.

Shanker Blog » Beware Of Anecdotes In The Value-Added Debate

Anecdotes can be dangerous, but ignoring them can be equally dangerous. Value-added models involve rather large measurement error, and policymakers will have to come to terms with the validity of scores when errors label teachers as bad when other indicators say they aren't.

Why I'm Not Opting My Kids Out of State Testing - Education - GOOD

Question for my School and Society class: If you were a parent, would you opt your child out of standardized testing?

What Happens When A 35-Year-Old Man Retakes The SAT?

A fun, yet totally-NSFW article about standardized testing.

Why is it your job to teach your kid math? - Help -

Not all reform math curricula is well-designed, and not all of it is well-taught. Now, with that out of the way, let's read between the lines for two themes of this article: 1. Math is arithmetic. 2. Teachers and schools shouldn't use techniques not known by parents. I see #1 at the heart of this argument all the time, and it really exposes how people perceive the nature of math. #2 is, frankly, a bit depressing. Yes, the article mentions some frustrated, yet math-minded parents, but it's hard to see how we improve math education without going beyond techniques known by a prior generation (who often and freely admits they aren't good at math).

The Reproduction of Privilege -

The most shocking bit in this article: "the percentage of low income college students actually graduating by age 24 has grown by only 2.1 points, from 6.2 percent in 1970 to 8.3 percent in 2009. Among students from families in the highest income quartile, the graduation rate by age 24 has surged by 42.2 percentage points, doubling from 40.2 percent to 82.4 percent over the last four decades."

No Funds Left Behind

Schools seeking money often turn to philanthropists, but usually that money comes with strings attached. Should we be concerned? How do we weigh the benefits the money might bring with the risks of adopting practices that might have negative effects?

'Compelling' evidence of cheating in many Phila. schools -

Philadelphia is the next major city (following Atlanta and D.C., namely) to have a major cheating scandal. While I don't agree with how test scores are being used, I still don't like cheating and fear this problem will only get worse.

projectsetdotcom | Just another site

I'm interested where this project goes. While statistics education seems to elude my main focus, I remain interested and with the Common Core State Standards (and other realities of our changing world) I see a need to really rethink our statistics curriculum and how we're preparing teachers to teach statistics.

Iowa View: Foolish to cut academics to cover deficit in athletics | The Des Moines Register |

This opinion piece hits home for me: my main voluntary activity while a student at UNI was helping the wrestling team. The program wasn't awash with money from the general fund, trust me, but wrestling doesn't draw enough fans to pay for itself. That's true of most every sport at every university, other than football and men's basketball. Sports do attract attention to a school, but at what cost? If sports enhance a school's brand, then how many sports are needed to do that, and how little money can be used from the general fund to support them?

Public Good — Or Commodity? | Taking Note

One of my sadder moments as a teacher came shortly after a spring evaluation. In the fall, the principal had noted in the evaluation that I was doing a great job covering standards and that kids were going to be well-prepared for the state tests in the spring. By spring, however, things were different and that same principal looked me in the eye after my evaluation and said, "You have done *nothing* to prepare these kids for the test." So what happened? The testing pressure had gotten to the principal, for sure, but then I found out that some students had complained. Apparently, the teacher I replaced (whose lesson plan book I still had) had the kids put away their textbooks in January and replaced them with commercial test-prep materials. My students had grown to expect to spend _two months practicing multiple-choice problems_ in advance of the tests. (And if test scores had been any indication, that strategy wasn't helping.) When they heard my test-prep strategy (This is a math class. There's math on the test. Trust me and you'll be fine.), some panicked, and I don't hold anything against them for having done so. Perhaps my favorite part from this article comes from Mark Shields: "While ideologues believe that what is right works, the rest of us believe that what works is right." You'll have to read the rest to fully understand the context.

She's Still Teaching At Age 100 | NBC Chicago

How to manipulate data and figures

This is a great example how using multiple scales on the same axis can so easily be manipulated.

‘Creative ... motivating’ and fired - The Washington Post

Another story of a teacher that people think is a good teacher yet poor test scores led to her dismissal. Why the disconnect between perception and scores? The article doesn't go into detail, but a lot of her students came from classrooms the year before that are now being investigated for cheating. If their prior scores were artificially raised, then her ability to show true growth was very limited.

Teacher Morale Sinks, Survey Results Show -

Putting this one out to my School and Society class: How well do you think reforms will work if teachers don't like the reforms? Or are reforms not there for teachers to like?

Bryan Stevenson: We need to talk about an injustice | Video on

This had been sitting in an open tab for a few days, but I'm so glad I finally took the time to watch it. Somehow I'm going to work this into my School and Society class, perhaps when we focus more centrally on race and talk about the school-to-prison pipeline.

Measure would encourage some kids to be held back a grade |

I suppose this seems logical -- if a child's reading skills are lacking, they should be held back a grade so they can catch up. Sadly, the research in this area is pretty conclusive, and almost all of it says that the negative consequences outweigh any benefits. (See,