links 3-19-14

A compilation of some of the links I have shared recently on G+:

The Opt Out Update with a Parent “Get Tough Guide” | Seattle Education: Lots of opt-out news here: the CTU position paper on standardized testing, a MD lawsuit, the CA standoff, Worcester MA allows opt-out of PARCC, opt-out in PA, NC and NY (links and audio, too), and a Get Tough Guide for parents. In Seattle? A meetup on testing with teacher Jesse Hagopian is next week.

China Exclusive: Shanghai takes UK invitation to send math teachers - People's Daily Online: "SHANGHAI, March 18 -- Shanghai's education authority has begun drafting a program to recruit math teachers from the city's schools to teach in the UK at the invitation of the UK Department of Education, according to sources with the city's education committee on Tuesday. The invitation came earlier this month after British parliamentary under-secretary of state for education and childcare, Elizabeth Truss, made a visit to Shanghai for a first-hand look at math classes and teaching methods in February."

Families Can Customize Services in Innovative Alaskan District
Mat-Su's public-education approach: 'Basically you can go to any school you choose' | Education | The Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District in Alaska allows families to choose any school or create a custom blend of classes, and they coordinate transportation as well. The experiment is being watched by others.
And the biggest school in the Valley, with 1,600 students, isn't a traditional one but a central hub for home-schooling support and distance-learning classes. Enrollment at the Mat-Su Central School has jumped by hundreds in the past few years, said Principal John Brown.
Who Fails When Students Give Up? - Beacon Broadside: "While parents and school boards fight these battles at the local, state and Federal levels, I’m afraid that we are losing kids by the day. Kids are giving up, are being made to feel like failures because they can’t jump through the shape-shifting hoops of the latest educational reform. If we don’t do something soon we are allowing the love of learning with which children are born, and which will flourish with proper nurturing, to be trampled as America races to the top—of what? "

Google Under Fire for Data-Mining Student Email Messages - Education Week:
A growing consensus views student data privacy as being greater than the general consumer's. Lawsuits are underway in CA.

Principles for Effecting Change in Complex Social Systems: Eugene Kim documents how to create change in complex social systems. A lot fo this has been done in homeschooling activism and the new movement of school change can learn from it, too.
  • Address immediate needs while linking them to larger, systemic issues. 
  • Surface discontents, build capacity, and elevate expectations.
  • Raise awareness of how social systems support and resist change.
  • Engage diverse people in partnering for positive action. 
  • Become the change, innovate with opportunitites, and persist.

transfer process reduces graduation rates
The Community College Route to the Bachelor’s Degree:  A new study, The Community College Route to the Bachelor's Degree by David B. Monaghan and Paul Attewell finds that the transfer process is highly problematic, in spite of transfer agreements, and that many transferees lose substantial amounts of credits in the process. Transferees are less likely to graduate after transfer if they lose credits. (Only 58% could transfer 90% or more of credits, 28% lost between 10% and 89% of their credits, and 14% essentially started over. None of this counts the remedial courses that are non-credit and yet required.) Clearly, the financial incentives of colleges do not align with the goal of completion, churn is huge, and this also applies to community colleges who financially benefit from required non-credit remediation based on testing. On remediation, the report notes that "... at this point, we cannot be sure that remediation is on the whole beneficial or harmful, or if it has an impact at all." 
It is well established that students who begin post-secondary education at a community college are less likely to earn a bachelor’s degree than otherwise similar undergraduates who begin at a 4-year school, but there is less consensus over the mechanisms generating this disparity. We explore these using national longitudinal transcript data and propensity-score methods. Inferior academic preparation does not seem to be the main culprit: We find few differences between students’ academic progress at each type of institution during the first 2 years of college and (contrary to some earlier scholarship) students who do transfer have BA graduation rates equal to similar students who begin at 4-year colleges. However, after 2 years, credit accumulation diverges in the two kinds of institutions, due in part to community college students’ greater involvement in employment, and a higher likelihood of stopping out of college, after controlling for their academic performance. Contrary to some earlier claims, we find that a vocational emphasis in community college is not a major factor behind the disparity. One important mechanism is the widespread loss of credits that occurs after undergraduates transfer from a community college to a 4-year institution; the greater the loss, the lower the chances of completing a BA. However, earlier claims that community college students receive lower aid levels after transfer and that transfers disproportionately fail to survive through the senior year are not supported by our analyses.

math requirements at community colleges: unaligned and overdone
mass higher ed and the dropout problem (notes on a talk by study author Paul Attewell)
remediating remediation

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