Please read this review, as posted on Diane Ravitch’s blog. It raises all sorts of excellent issues. So, I was moved to comment. Enjoy!

https://dianeravitch.net/2018/01/14/john-thompson-on-daniel-koretzs-the-testing-charade/

Here’s my comment:

Diane, Happy New Year and thanks for posting this interesting and unsettling book review about the negative (and, HMMM, unpredicted?) effects of testing policies set by experts and our government.

As I read it, I realized that these concerns go far beyond testing. Policy makers and experts “set unreasonable targets” in many, many arenas of public education. Take, for example, my area of concern and expertise–special education–and the policies that affect all students and all schools–often, with unintended (unpredicted?) and absurd consequences. Yet we carry on. Who will stop this maddening train?

Too often, targets created by policy makers in Washington and beyond– in the testing and other arenas–don’t hit the mark and damage the very schools we are trying to improve.

When will WE ever learn?

HMMM… whose children are these computers for? Theirs or other people’s. You decide….

http://www.businessinsider.com/waldorf-silicon-valley-school-shuns-technology-2017-3

And see an earlier story, http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/23/technology/at-waldorf-school-in-silicon-valley-technology-can-wait.html.

When Silicon Valley execs embrace technology in schools for their own children, then let’s talk.

Check out the little program in East Palo Alto (10 Books a Home) where I volunteer as a “role model.” I visit a 4 year old boy (we started when he was 3) in his HOME–role modeling for the PARENTS–the help prevent (not close) that “30-million-word-gap.”

Here’s a great link to the cleats that will be worn by the 49ers’ Solomon Thomas!!

http://www.espn.com/blog/san-francisco-49ers/post/_/id/29151/for-49ers-solomon-thomas-10-books-a-home-hits-close-to-home-in-more-ways-than-one.

Of course I agree that this IS THE HUGE challenge…. developed in early early early childhood. As I see it, we need to enroll parents when children are babies–IN THE HOME. Parents are a student’s first teachers. Let’s help them be as good as they can be.

Thank you 10booksahome.org! Together, we’re on the right path.

http://www.mercurynews.com/2017/11/23/wish-book-tutors-for-preschools-ignite-a-love-of-learning/

Here’s a story about 10 Books a Home– a small, in-home learning program. It provides an hour a week of games, toys, and books for little kids and helps their parents work with their own children. I know, because I’m as volunteer role model with 10BH–as we call it.

A good read. I do believe in home-based education! Let’s help 10BH and other programs thrive.

It’s about time! No pun intended.

Thank you, Education Week, for this long overdue front page–top story. We need to study how inclusion affects classrooms–teachers and students.

While the story focused on an international study looking at general educators’ time on task and the effect of behavior issues in classrooms, this is but a good first step. We need many more studies need to look at all other aspects of this vital question: How inclusion affects general education–teachers and students (and even parent perception).

As many of you, my loyal readers, know, I’ve focused on this issue for years. See my 2013 Wall Street Journal op-ed on Mainstreaming; see my 2017 book, Special Education 2.0 (in the Store on this website as well as on Amazon).

So, a great first step. Thank you, Education Week, for its front page top story placement!

Special education still in “deep trouble” and needs reform–according to California’s President of the State Board of Education, Michael Kirst. Here are the article about his comments (that includes some from me) and the podcast–again, Mike Kirst, followed by me.

I do believe we’re getting the word out…slowly, slowly.

The podcast is about 17 minutes long. The special education segment with Mike Kirst starts around minute 8 and mine starts around minute 11. Enjoy!

Let me know what you think! Onward and upward!

I attended the EdSource meeting last week in Oakland California and heard Michael Kirst speak about the need for reforming special education. The system is antiquated… and needs “another look.” As you can read, the article cites several people, including yours truly and gives a shout out to my book, Special Education 2.0.

Onward and upward.

I’m an optimist and do believe we’ll make the necessary changes–Step by step, little by little. Thank you, Mike, for getting the word out.

Ed Week ran a fascinating Commentary.about this fact: while the number of students attending private schools has been rather steady, the number of wealthy students (especially in cities) attending private schools has risen. The statistics are from the years leading up to 2013.

This trend is worrisome to me, as someone who believes passionately in the need for excellent public schools for all. If the trend continues, public schools will, more and more, be just for those students who can’t leave–and all of this is even before we consider vouchers.

What to do? See the comments I just posted at Ed Week. Your thoughts?

http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2017/09/20/what-can-we-learn-from-the-private.html?cmp=eml-enl-eu-news2&M=58211353&U=1500758

Here’s the comment I just posted on Ed Week‘s site…

Fascinating. People do vote with their feet. Surprise. Surprise.

Here’s my worry.

This trend–more wealthy students–especially in cities–attending private schools–is worrisome. If we want good public schools for all, as I do and as I write for and seek reforms (specifically, in special education), we need to end current flawed policies that focus on silos of children, not all children. If we don’t, those who can will just continue to vote with their feet–out of our schools, leaving them more and more just for the have nots. And this is all before vouchers.

The trend is happening…even without the vouchers, and undoubtedly will accelerate– though I suspect vouchers don’t go to the rich. Another study!
Instead of trying to close the doors out of our schools, we should make public schools work for all students and end policies that drive people away.

Education Week ran an interesting article this week, linking children’s sleep habits and problems to ADHD. http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2017/09/20/childrens-sleep-problems-linked-to-attention-disorders.html

Interesting. But surprising? I’m guessing that it’s not to teachers and parents and even grandparents! We know about the importance of regular sleep habits, especially for children. Relating it to the incidence of ADHD (or perhaps other impairments as well) is the next logical step–not a surprise. I’m glad to read of efforts to help parents understand the importance of sleep and how to help children get good sleep habits.

How about we next study how eating regular meals at home (especially dinner) correlates with ADHD or other impairments.  As a parent and grandparent, I’m guessing it does. I’m also guessing that most teachers would agree. Especially if iPhones and TVs are turned  off.

There is wisdom in those old “wives tales” about parenting…. Let’s study those methods!

Fascinating stuff–more students are “encouraged” or pushed to take AP courses and tests. The AP, you may recall was originally designed for advanced students. No more.Now, many more students take the classes and few get “passing scores” of 3,4, or 5–that provide them with college credit. There are some anecdotal stories of great success–and many situations that are not so inspiring…..

The tests (next year test fee will be $94! Tests and courses are costly and are paid to the College Board.

Two statistics stood out for me.

In one school, 76% of students received a diploma while only 1% of them were at grade level in math and 4% in language arts. How does that work?

The College Board’s earnings from the AP have boosted its bottom line. In 2015, of its $916 million in revenue, $408 came from the AP.

Who benefits. What is the purpose here? Is this the best way to raise expectations and improve student outcomes? You decide.