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?


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.


Thanks for the blog and the interesting comments following it. I would simply add:

1. The issue I presented involves the WHAT before the WHO. The College Board (and the ACT) need to clarify once and for all what the role of timing is in the SAT and the ACT. That is, are these tests of speed and efficiency, or other attributes related to timing, or is timing merely done for administrative convenience or another ancillary reason. At its core, the issue is: is extended time an accommodation (that provides equal access for all students and does not fundamentally alter the test) or is it a modification (that fundamentally changes the test)?

After we what the WHAT is, then we can focus on the WHO–the students who take the test and how we should set up the test so they have access to it AND it remains valid.

In reading the wonderful comments, I was gratified to see that some “got” this focus on the WHAT–while others focused on the WHO. After all these years of, what I believe are flawed testing administrations, it’s a tough sell to try to get us back on track to validity.

2. In terms of who benefits from extended time, as I recall, the early data I studied–back before the College Board lifted flags on the SAT in 2002/2003–showed that the students who benefited from extended time (50% or more) on the SAT were the top students. This may be counter intuitive–but that’s what the data showed.

3. I would love to get actual numbers and percentages of students who take the SAT (and ACT) with extended time, but so far have been unable to do that.

4. So long as we keep testing students, the saga continues. Let’s hope we keep tests valid. If we don’t, why are we testing?

Most recommended!

How great is that. “Have SAT accommodations gone too far?” is the MOST RECOMMENDED piece in today’s Education Week. It has garnered 13 comments! Thank you all. Check it out and keep reading, sharing, writing. Thanks so much.


The comments are fascinating. I wrote the piece because I’m concerned that we are losing the purpose of the test. Why do we have an SAT? What is the WHAT of the SAT: What is being measured. I hope the College Board finally clarifies this. Once we know what the WHAT is, we can figure out how it should be administered. I was glad to see that several commenters focused on the WHAT. Thank you.

Now to the WHO. We need to know the WHAT before we can decide how to test the WHO. My piece was not about the WHO. Yet, several commenters wrote about that.

Clearly there’s more work to be done to clarify the WHAT and the WHO so we can get back to valid testing.


I invite you to read this piece. It’s excellent–and tracks several ideas and proposals in my book. Marc Tucker comes at the issue from a data perspective and international comparisons. He asks if we are really helping kids learn or just labeling them with a disability and setting up systems that, sadly, don’t get the job done. He’s the executive director of NCEE and a blogger at Education Week. Check out http://ncee.org/.

I come at the issue–as some of you, my loyal readers know–from the legal perspective. The issue is the legal system we’ve set up that ultimately, gets in the way of helping all students learn. That is my view. It’s been successful in getting all students to school and we now need a second generation law for all students.

These two pieces go hand in hand and lead me to believe that the times they are a’changin!


Here’s an excellent piece by my friend, Mike Petrilli. He’s right to be concerned. It’s been picked up by Diane Ravitch’s blog. I urge you to read both. https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#inbox/15c88039d0270b23?compose=15c87da9a56933d0

I agree with the concerns expressed by both Mike and Diane. To which I’d like to add the following.

My question is about the motives we have and those of providers of computers. Why are we pushing for so-called “personalized” learning?
As for high tech companies–the huge education market and competition among them for a share of that market, I get that.

But why are schools buying into it? Has it ever been proven to be the best way to teach and learn? I haven’t seen that evidence.
I am concerned that we are pushing “personalized” learning as a way to make today’s classroom focused on inclusion work–that is, to have all sorts of learners in the same classrooms with teachers “differentiating” among all students at all performance levels in today’s classrooms. An overwhelming and often impossible task.

Voila–computers offer the way!

But, do they really? And don’t they ignore evidence we have for what actually works–for example, LIN–least intervention necessary; not LRE–Least restrictive environment. That is, we need to focus on the students–and their current performance and interests, not on their location, location, location– a standard that works in real estate but not here.

Bottom line, The motive for this push may not be what’s best for our students. Rather, it may be what authorities believe will make our current notions and fads of equity and all-in-together-now “work.” But will it? Will it be real education? Will it enhance lives?

Watch the back door of vouchers and choice on this one.

I share Mike’s and Diane’s concerns. And you?