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Quality in early childhood education–bean counting or best practice?

July 25, 2011

Quality in early education and childcare is indisputably important. Some regulation of these facilities is essential in order to ensure safe and enriching environments for young children, whether they are based in a home, community-based site, or school setting.  However, there is a point where regulation can become a mishmash of silly mandates and hoops to jump through, if not an outright intrusion on educator practices.  Colorado’s Early Childcare Division in its Department of Human Services has proposed changes in its Rules and Regulations to enable providers to obtain a license.  This 98 page document, still in draft form, is definitely drawing attention.  However, it has some people questioning the apparent fussiness of some of its parameters, and certain others worried about practicalities and costs of the proposals.  Cost of compliance with new regulations may force some smaller care-providers out of business, as well as raise fees for parents who can ill afford further strains on their budgets.  On the other hand, it does have people discussing the meaning of quality in early education, and maybe the current attention, even if negative,  is better than the dismissive attitude many  seem hold when it comes to preschool programs.

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“But no one’s saying test scores should be *everything*…”

July 14, 2011
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Not out loud, no. And not on purpose, sure.

I find myself talking about value-added measures (a statistical method of trying to assess teacher effectiveness using student test scores– read more of my thoughts on the issue here and here.) a lot lately. Usually, I’m speaking with reporters or people who are interested in the politics of education, but haven’t worked in schools any time in recent memory. They often ask why some folks (including myself) get so nervous about the practice, if VAM scores are only supposed to be part of a teacher’s overall evaluation.

Setting aside for a moment the problems inherent to using test scores to judge, well, anyone, let’s take a moment to consider the context into which these new evaluation practices will be introduced. While it’s true that many new evaluation plans do not explicitly require that all of a teacher’s evaluation be tied to test scores, given the current environment in many schools, it is very possible that this will become the de facto reality. Read more…

MOMocrats MOMoradio Spot, July 13

July 13, 2011
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I (Sabrina) did a BlogTalkRadio interview this morning with Cynematic & Donna of the MOMocrats! Topics discussed included the Jonah Edelman/Stand for Children controversy, Michelle Rhee-style reform vs. community-driven reform, and the Save Our Schools March. Do give it a listen, and be sure to check out the MOMocrats online, and K12 News Network as well.

Click here to listen.

 

Isn’t it Amazing When Deformers Pull Back the Curtain?

July 11, 2011

Sometimes you just happen to come across individuals in positions of power who show their hand and speak the truth at inconvenient moments. Jonah Edelman of Stand for Children, one of the many well-funded, manipulative organizations that play three card monte with the public dropped this revealing moment. At a recent Aspen Institute funded event, Edelman gloats over how they bamboozled their way past any ethical restraint in order to push forward unjust legislation.

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Little Birdies, Racing to the Top!

July 11, 2011

So the US Department of Education has decided to initiate a competition addressing early education, children-at-risk and  Kindergarten readiness through–(sound the horns) more standards and assessment!  Early Childhood Education advocates and teachers heave a collective groan and pained sigh, and are left wondering just why money will be devoted to assessment rather than universal access to preschool.  Residents of Birdland weigh in on the DOE and its secretary, Barne Turducken.

“RIF Now, Pay Later”

July 8, 2011
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cross-posted from the SOS March Blog

The following video was directed by Bob Arnold, a teacher at Roy Romer Middle School in Los Angeles. The school faces a 25% reduction of its staff because of budget cuts. This video incredible on a number of levels– it’s a beautiful testament to the talent of the school’s teachers and students, as well as an incredible demonstration of unity in the face of short-sighted public policy. Well done, RRMS– and here’s hoping it’s NOT too late to save your teachers and your school.

Still Stunned

July 8, 2011

Secretary Barne Turducken weighs in on the stunning revelations of this week that there is, wait for it,  evidence of cheating on tests so that schools and districts can make AYP and not suffer penalties from State and Federal governments.  But he’s not the only one who is stunned as you shall see:

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