Education Funding Equity: A Technocratic Justification vs. Jonathan Kozol’s Rationale

Fair Funding Now! #TellEWA #EdBlogNet #CitizenJournalist @idraedu


In a memorable keynote address fifteen years ago I heard Jonathan Kozol declare, “People say that spending money on education is just throwing money at the problem. We ought to try that. It might work.”

Certainly investing in public school equity and improvement has not been the trend in recent years.  About ten years ago, New York set up a new school funding formula to send more money to poorer school districts to remedy the lawsuit in Campaign for Fiscal Equity v. New York, but when the Great Recession hit, New York’s general assembly stopped funding the plan it had created.  At about the same time the legislature of Pennsylvania created a formula for the purpose of equalizing school funding, but in came Governor Tom Corbett who cut a billion dollars out of the state’s education budget, and the new formula died.  Kansas has radically cut taxes and slashed…

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You Can’t Force Developmental Milestones: A Parent’s Perspective on the CCSS Kindergarten Foundational Reading Standards

#TellEWA: #EdBlogNet #citizenjournalist


In a recent Facebook discussion about PARCC and the Common Core State Standards, I commented that the Common Core standards are developmentally inappropriate in the younger grades. Another participant in the discussion challenged that assertion, and pointed to the CCSS kindergarten literacy standards. He asked me to identify what was inappropriate in them.

Here’s an edited and expanded version of my response:

I think pointing to the Reading:Literacy Standards (Kindergarten) for an analysis of developmental inappropriateness misses the mark. My concern with the standards for the youngest grades is not with the Reading: Literacy Standards, which are about comprehension and understanding stories, but rather with the Reading: Foundational Standards (Kindergarten), which are about phonics and decoding words. The Reading: Foundational Standards require ALL kindergartners, for instance, to be reading CVC words (i.e., 3 letter short vowel words) by the end of kindergarten, unless those words end with r…

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A Special Guest Posting from The Walking Man – Dr. Jesse Turner – “An Ode to Education”

#CitizenJournalist #EdBlogNet @idraedu

Poetic Justice

From the Walking Man  – Dr. Jesse Turner

An Ode to Education

I Love Public Education
I cried the first time my Mother left me at your door,
I would learn to love you with every morning cookie and container of milk,
I would love you more with every song we sang within your hallowed walls,
I found your love in every teacher’s smile in your halls
I loved the reverence and respect you showed our flag every morning.
When the evil darkness of assassination
took the life of President Kennedy ~ you were there,
You calmed us, and helped us understand that although things could never be the same ~ our nation would be mended,
You kept us warm during the winters from 9:00 to 3:00 ~ when there was no heat in our old cold-water flat,
You were there when they murdered our heroes Martin and Bobby, to…

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No Child Left Behind Has Not Worked. Why?

#EdBlogNet @idraedu


Congress has begun to hold hearings to consider, yet again, a reauthorization of the federal testing law No Child Left Behind (NCLB).  NCLB is the most recent reauthorization of the 1965 Elementary and Secondary Education Act, but in 2002, when President George W. Bush signed NCLB into law, the federal government radically shifted educational philosophy.  The emphasis moved away from supporting the education of under-served groups of children through compensatory funding programs like Title I and toward a new plan: holding schools accountable for continually improving test scores for all children.  It hasn’t worked.

The National Center for Fair & Open Testing (FairTest) released data this week to document that NCLB has not lifted school achievement.  The National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) is conducted independently—apart from accountability-based testing of every child by states under NCLB.  The NAEP is administered across the states to random samples of children across the…

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Grades Fail Student Engagement with Learning

Great educator and leader of radical scholarship!

academic freedom isn't free

Possibly my greatest commitment while teaching public school English in a rural SC high school for 18 years was listening to my students, and by that, I do not mean listening to them during class discussions or in conferences (I did that also).

I mean listening to students when they didn’t know an adult was listening.

Some of those moments that have shaped my teaching include the following:

  • Student comment: A student walking into class told a friend that she had just failed a pop quiz in the previous class after studying all night, and from then on, she wasn’t going to waste her time studying. My lesson: Pop quizzes often taught students the exact wrong lessons intended; thus, I very early on never gave pop quizzes (leading eventually to giving no tests, for similar reasons).
  • Student comment: Two students were leaving my class once at the end of…

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Mandates of and from Our Hearts

And if we follow the mandates of our hearts first – both teacher and student will be filled with the joy that only comes from true teaching and true learning.

Poetic Justice

We are being mandated to death. A mandate is an official order, a commission to do something, a law. I am tired of official orders and of commissions and of the law. I need the mandate paradigm to be shifted now.

I am sitting in front of a blank screen on this Sunday evening – almost Monday morning – just thinking about the mandates we educators are under. We have mandates from our school, our departments, our district, our state, and, yes, from the government. We have mandates to test our young children and mandates to write up goals on our own evaluations based on those tests. We have mandates to enter data every month, every week, every day, and every period of every day. We have mandates to meet in data teams to manipulate and further extrapolate more data from the data. We educators are being mandated to death.

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Parents Across America’s Position Paper on Quality Education

Having listened to parents, students, and educators, and recognizing that educating our children is everyone’s responsibility, Parents Across America prepared the following definition of a quality education.

Seattle Education

Several Parents Across America (PAA) members developed this position paper based on a workshop titled “What is a quality education?” presented at PAA’s leadership conference in Washington DC in the summer of 2014. Special thanks go to Deb Mayer of Oregon Save our Schools, Danielle Arnold-Schwartz of PAA-Suburban Philadelphia, Lisa Fluke of PAA-Ventura County, and Julie Woestehoff, PAA Board secretary for creating a paper based on the input of our membership.

No set of bullet points can fully capture the complexities of a quality education, but this position paper reflects a common vision of the kind of schooling we, as members of Parents Across America, want for our children.


Position Paper on Quality Education

Having listened to parents, students, and educators, and recognizing that educating our children is everyone’s responsibility, Parents Across America prepared the following definition of a quality education.

Quality education is child-centered.

Quality schools

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