Taking Over Public Schools in Tennessee: The Jury is Still Out

juryYou saw the post on East Nashville in Turmoil.  There is more to this story.  Parents at Inglewood fended off the takeover of their school.  The Achievement School District selected Neely’s Bend Middle School instead.  It’s children are primarily Latino. Other schools are mostly African American.  The head of ASD announced plans to take over more Nashville schools.

What is this force taking over schools?  Is it making a difference?  How would you vote?Continue reading


faces-426078_1280We have been posting information on testing, school and teacher accountability, Common Core, charter schools, vouchers, and school innovation.  The posts have been full of facts and sources.

We hope you can use the information to help inform others about the issues.

If you have made fact sheets, written letters to the editor, or done presentations on education, please let us know.  We would like to share your work on the blog.



VAM: Teachers are More Than A Number

teacher-590109_1280If as we hear, the best teachers tend to gravitate to where the better students are, how do we help low achieving students?

Arne Duncan, the Secretary of Education, believes that a culture of ‘good enough’ exists in some schools that has to be changed.

Grading schools and teachers drives change to help students, so the argument goes.

Good teachers do make a difference in student learning in a school that supports their efforts.  How much students learn in a year, adjusted by other factors, is the value added measurement (VAM) used to identify good teachers.  This is a tricky business.  Even the experts do not agree how accurate they are.  Read to the end of the post, I saved the best until last.

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Helping Children, Not Test Scores

team-150149_1280Florida’s DOE did a good thing for 3rd graders today.    We have been talking about NAEP results in Florida for fourth grade.  See Testing: Maybe we should require statistics.  I mentioned some published concerns about third grade retention policies that might skew fourth grade test results.  If students who fail FCAT are retained, then fourth grade NAEP scores should look better.  After all, the children who struggle the most are still in 3rd grade.  Guess what I found out today.  Children should do a happy dance.

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Testing: Maybe We Should Require Statistics?

Seeing the World with Rose Colored GlassesThe Commissioner of Education, Pam Stewart did a presentation today about testing in Florida’s public schools.  Part of her comment about the impact of testing on student achievement in Florida was  unsettling, or just plain wrong.  In the video of the Education Appropriations Committee meeting today, she said Florida’s children from low-income families tested number one in the country and other groups were in the top 10.  It is a rosy view of the situation.


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Beware of Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics

graph-41423_1280I liked this book when I read it years ago.  Still do. I really look at numbers and think about what they do and do not tell us.  When I learned that the Florida Legislature had changed the evaluator for the Florida Tax Credit scholarship (FTC) program, I wondered why.

Before we judge, let’s look at the data from the April 2014 FTC scholarship program for private schools.  These are the scholarships funded by tax rebates to corporations.

How are tax credit voucher programs evaluated in other states?  Let us know.  Here is what was reported in Florida.

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