school financing and vouchers

Re: school financing
ldh encourages increased and strategic investments in order to get achievment gains; requires a rethinking of how $$ is spent in k-12 schooling. Re: vouchers, suggests looking at this report by IES, which states that vouchers have made no significant difference in student achievement: http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/pdf/20084023.pdf

some dispute between lgk and ldh about the impact of vouchers on student achievement. when invited by sf to list research that people should read, ldh offers the above IES report as one piece of research. lgk chuckled and said that tc is a school of education and should be able to find it.

editorializing aside, there was disagreement about how to invest in schooling. e.g., investing in the career ladder and support throughout a career vs. merit pay. this led to an interesting back and forth between the impact of alternative teacher certification programs. candidates have differences in how they aim to support and cultivate the teaching profession. Mccain apparently wants to put money – redirected funds from Title 2, prof dev funds – in programs like TFA, which is focused on achievement, and whose graudates go on to become leaders and founders of charter schools, like Michelle Rae (again). ldh disputed claims that TFA teachers stay, and cited research that indicates that alt cert, without any formal or prior support, decreases percentage of teachers who stay, and is counterintuitive to an effort towards cultivating a teaching profession - as she mentioned earlier, investing in a career ladder.

closing thoughts now... more to come...

role of education in campaigns

when asked about the role of education in each of the campaigns, both describe candidates' legislative commitments to "education," though difficult for mccain's advisor to overcome her candidates' record...

fuhrman presses: have the candidates given enough attention to education?
lgk: disputes ldh's claim that mccain has been brief in his mentions about education. notes that when mentions are made, not picked up in media. frustrating.

ldh: agrees with the point that media is lax in picking up on major educ speeches - not just a partisan issue. however, efforts must be led by someone who understands benefits of education. earlier, she made the claim that $1 investment in early childhood education yields $5-7 later in child's life in the form of decreased educational failure, remediation, etc.

lmv editorial (that's me :) ) - interesting point about early childhood ed... wondering whether we can fold in importance of reduced class sizes...

the nclb question - what would your candidate do when it comes up for reauthorization?
ldh: we need to rethink our assessment/examination system - e.g., like what other countries are doing, not just multiple choice, but inquiry driven work.
lgk: state standards and assessments need to stay in place. the problem of doing portfolios is that you can't compare kids. you can have fabulous, formative portfolios in the instructional process, but you can have a great question that you have to fill in. offers the following sites to be able to know where you stand in relation to other schools: greatschools.net

ldh - we're stuck in a 50s conception of standardized testing, and not thought about undertaking a different form of testing, auditing, monitoring -- and as a result, teaching higher order thinking skills, engendering greater inquiry, not just bubbling in all day.

lgk - fine if all students get the same test. no one should be bubbling in - that's a lousy school!

more to come..

candidates' education advisors debate @ tc

and we're off! the event, officially titled "education and the next president," has commenced with the welcome by pres. fuhrman and her call for greater attention to be paid to education, given its significance for the emerging global issues we face. she will moderate the discussion between lisa graham keegan, advisor to john mccain, and linda darling-hammond, advisor to barack obama.

we're learning about keegan and darling-hammond now, via fuhrman's intros.

the format: fuhrman will ask questions on a range of topics (45 minutes, of 2 minute responses), then each speaker will pose a question to the other. then, questions from the audience.

first question: how would barack obama differ from mccain as an education president?
ldh: obama would clearly be better. understands this from personal experience and also from analytic perspective - e.g. other countries pulling ahead, which have invested in early childhood ed, health care of children, teacher education funding, curriculum and asssessment directed pointed to 21st century skills, and increased college access. has a record of this congress.
mccain has typically voted against these investments in congress. not a high priority to him.

q to lgk: re: mccain's interest in joel klein's and al sharpton's work with educational equity project in nyc, compelling, and wants to support:
- increasing quality of teachers in high needs schools
- numbers of choices parents have about educating their kids

sf: importance of education to each of your campaigns - do you get (and how much) face time with him?


cfp: nctear 2009

Literacy, Culture, Learning, and Life in Schools: Research and Designs for Change
February 13-15, 2009; University of California, Los Angeles
Co-chairs: Kris Gutierrez and Ernest Morrell

The Assembly for Research of the National Council of Teachers of English announces a conference on “Literacy, Culture, Learning, and Life in Schools: Research and Designs for Change”, to be held February 13-15, 2009 at The University of California, Los Angeles in Los Angeles, CA. In this call, we would like researchers and educators to consider what it means to explore the connections between literacy theory and research and the study and design of powerful literacy learning spaces for youth.

After a generation of pioneering scholarship in literacy and learning theory and research we are still faced with extreme challenges, some methodological, some pertaining to applications of research to practice and policy. We are also still faced with the reality that class, race, and language background still largely define equity, access, and achievement in literacy classrooms and therefore, the life outcomes of students. With that in mind our goal is to convene literacy and learning scholars, theorists, activists, and practitioners around the globe to discuss the applications of recent movements in literacy and learning theory and research to classro om practice, to understanding classroom life, and to the development of progressive educational policy.

Key Goals
  1. To understand how current movements in literacy and/or learning research can and should inform classroom life for historically marginalized students. This involves both the study of classroom life and the shaping of students’ experiences inside of classrooms.
  2. To understand how recent advances in literacy research are reshaping the very tools that we use to understand literacy practices across a wide range of activity settings including schools and homes.
  3. To assess design interventions that have applied literacy theory and research to classroom curricula and pedagogy in order to understand what we have learned about design research as a methodological approach and what we have learned about effecti ve literacy classroom practice.
  4. To identify challenges, contradictions, and future directions for literacy researchers interested in the nexus of theory, literacy research, and literacy development among historically marginalized populations.
  5. To consider the “appropriate” goals and outcomes of literacy research for radical citizenship, for classroom practice, for policy development, and for action for social change. (What do we want and how will we know if we are heading in the right direction?)
  6. To articulate and develop powerful theories of literacy teaching and literacy learning that emerge from our interrogation of existing theory and research.

Key Questions
  1. Q: What do we know about the applications of literacy and/or learning research to pedagogical practices in literacy classrooms with histories of underachievement? What are the core tenets of successful practices? What is the research base that supports the identification of these tenets?
  2. Q: What are powerful examples of practice? What should we learned from studying these practices?
  3. How do we best study literacy and learning inside and outside of classrooms?
  4. Q: What is gained by broadening the focus from classrooms to studying larger ecologies? How do third generation activity theory, mutli-sited ethnographies, and recent work in the field problematize and push upon dichotomies of home/school, classrooms/not classrooms, etc?
  5. Q: What are the various home, community, popular cultural, and new media literacies that students bring with them into classrooms? How are these li teracies being accessed and positioned within classrooms?
  6. Q: Where do we need to go next with respect to making connections between theory, literacy research, and classroom practice?
We welcome proposals grounded in diverse perspectives, including, among others: the learning sciences, critical race, postcolonial, postmodern, multicultural, feminist and queer theories; critical discourse analysis; critical and anti-racist pedagogies; and ethnic, cultural, cross-cultural, design, experimental, quasi-experimental, case study, ethnography, historical and comparative/international st udies. We invite proposals that focus on empirical research including teacher/action research, as well as conceptual/theoretical work.

Proposals (no more than 2 single-spaced pages) should address the following: The research question(s), methodology, findings/issues/questions for discussion, and how the research will contribute to the conference conversation. If your paper is a conceptual/theoretical one, please describe your theoretical framework and argument and tell how it will contribute to the conference conversation. We are strongly encouraging the participati on of classroom teachers and graduate students so, if you are currently a classroom teacher or graduate student, please indicate so in your proposal. Please send all proposals to nctear2009@gmail.com. The deadline for conference submissions is December 1, 2008.