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Charter schools

A charter chain thinks it has the answer for alternative schools

Critics complain that the schools lack rigor and often use software programs vulnerable to cheating, such as Edgenuity. https://www.edgenuity.com/login/

Bixby also pushed back on the idea, expressed by some alternative school critics, that students in traditional classrooms, with teachers who each see over 150 pupils a day, are assured a more meaningful experience. Altus students are assigned to one main teacher who becomes responsible for each of their students’ progress throughout their time in the program. The network aims to assign no more than 40 students to each teacher so that they have time to get to know them. And all instruction is delivered one-on-one or in small groups.

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more on charter schools in this IMS blog
http://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims?s=charter

charter schools

Just What IS A Charter School, Anyway?

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more on charter schools in this IMS blog
http://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims?s=charter+schools

education issues around election and charter schools

Peter Greene: What This Election Means for Schools

Trump’s education proposal is short but simple:

More school choice (a.k.a. “open the corporate charter floodgates”).

Merit pay for teachers (a.k.a. “we’ll pay them just what we think they’re worth and they’ll like it”).

End tenure (a.k.a. “You’re fired whenever the mood hits me”).

If Hillary is elected, we can expect more of the Obama style of reform. He deduces this from the advisors who are close to her, mostly from the Center for American Progress.

Bottom line: Trump will run over the schools like a steamroller, flattening them along with their teachers. He endorses vouchers, charters, online charters, anything goes.

Clinton is likely to be akin to Obama/Duncan in advancing charter schools and testing.

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REIGN OF ERROR By Diane Ravitch
Ravitch writes that the “the transfer of public funds to private management and the creation of thousands of deregulated, unsupervised, and unaccountable schools have opened the public coffers to profiteering, fraud, and exploitation by large and small entrepreneurs.”
The public school system, Ravitch argues, is under attack from corporate interests and Wall Street crusaders seeking to make a buck off the American taxpayer. The reformers, Ravitch writes, are an insurgency in America’s schools, “a deliberate effort to replace public education with a privately managed, free-market system of schooling.”
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Accountant Reconsiders Plea in Online Charter School Founder’s Tax Fraud

By Richard Chang 09/19/16

https://thejournal.com/articles/2016/09/19/accountant-reconsiders-plea-in-online-charter-school-founder-tax-fraud.aspx

100 tech debacles of the decade

http://hackeducation.com/2019/12/31/what-a-shitshow

1. Anti-School Shooter Software

4. “The Year of the MOOC” (2012)

6. “Everyone Should Learn to Code”

8. LAUSD’s iPad Initiative (2013)

9. Virtual Charter Schools

10. Google for Education

14. inBloom. The Shared Learning Collaborative (2011)

17. Test Prep

20. Predictive Analytics

22. Automated Essay Grading

25. Peter Thiel

26. Google Glass

32. Common Core State Standards

44. YouTube, the New “Educational TV”

48. The Hour of Code

49. Yik Yak

52. Virtual Reality

57. TurnItIn (and the Cheating Detection Racket) (my note: repeating the same for years: http://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims?s=turnitin)

59. Clayton Christensen’s Predictions
http://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims?s=clayton

61. Edmodo. http://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims?s=edmodo

62. Edsurge

64. Alexa at School

65. Apple’s iTextbooks (2011)

67. UC Berkeley Deletes Its Online Lectures. ADA

72. Chatbot Instructors. IBM Watson “AI” technology (2016)

81. Interactive Whiteboards (my note: repeating the same for years: http://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims?s=smartboard)

82. “The End of Library” Stories (and the Software that Seems to Support That)

86. Badges

89. Clickers

90. “Ban Laptops” Op-Eds (my note: collecting pros and cons for years: http://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims/2017/04/03/use-of-laptops-in-the-classroom/)

92. “The Flipped Classroom”

93. 3D Printing

100. The Horizon Report

2019 Year in Education

five of the biggest education stories of the year

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https://www.politics-prose.com/event/book/diane-ravitch-slaying-goliath-passionate-resistance-to-privatization-and-fight-to-save

NewSchool Summit

As Charters Face Growing Opposition, NewSchools Summit Makes Its Case

By Tony Wan     May 14, 2019

https://www.edsurge.com/news/2019-05-14-as-charters-face-growing-opposition-newschools-summit-makes-its-case

for the past 21 years its organizer, the Oakland, Calif.-based nonprofit known as NewSchools Venture Fund, has also put millions of dollars into novel schools in public districts

Charter schools operate with public funding, and sometimes philanthropic support, but are managed by an outside organization that is independent from local district oversight. In California, they are run by nonprofit organizations with self-elected boards. (For-profit charters are outlawed.)

Their supporters and operators—who make up the vast majority of the 1,300-plus attendees at this year’s Summit—say the model offers the flexibility needed to introduce, test and adopt new curriculum, tools and pedagogical approaches that could better serve students, particularly in low-income and minority communities.

Rocketship Education was an early showcase for blended learning, where students rotate between working on computers and in small groups with teachers. Summit Public Schools, a network of charters that now claims a nationwide footprint, promotes project-based learning assisted by an online learning platform.

But charters have also attracted an increasingly vocal opposition, who charge them with funneling students, teachers and funds from traditional district schools. Aside from raising teacher salaries, a sticking point in the recent California teachers’ strikes in Los Angeles and Oakland has been stopping the growth of charter schools.

Detractors can point to fully-virtual charters, run by for-profit companies, that have been fined for misleading claims and graduating students at rates far below those at traditional schools. At the same time, research suggests that students attending charter schools in urban regions outperform their peers in traditional school settings.

While the first decade of this century saw double-digit percentage increase in the number of such schools, it has almost entirely plateaued (at 1 percent growth) in the 2017-2018 school year, according to data from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.

 

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more on charter schools in this IMS blog
http://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims?s=charter

educational technology

The Overselling of Education Technology

By Alfie Kohn     Mar 16, 2016

https://www.edsurge.com/news/2016-03-16-the-overselling-of-education-technology

my response to ed tech is “It depends.”

Some people seem to be drawn to technology for its own sake—because it’s cool.

Other people, particularly politicians, defend technology on the grounds that it will keep our students “competitive in the global economy.”

But the rationale that I find most disturbing—despite, or perhaps because of, the fact that it’s rarely made explicit—is the idea that technology will increase our efficiency…at teaching the same way that children have been taught for a very long time. Perhaps it hasn’t escaped your notice that ed tech is passionately embraced by very traditional schools: Their institutional pulse quickens over whatever is cutting-edge: instruction that’s blended, flipped, digitally personalized.

We can’t answer the question “Is tech useful in schools?” until we’ve grappled with a deeper question: “What kinds of learning should be taking place in those schools?”

Tarting up a lecture with a SmartBoard, loading a textbook on an iPad, looking up facts online, rehearsing skills with an “adaptive learning system,” writing answers to the teacher’s (or workbook’s) questions and uploading them to Google Docs—these are examples of how technology may make the process a bit more efficient or less dreary but does nothing to challenge the outdated pedagogy. To the contrary: These are shiny things that distract us from rethinking our approach to learning and reassure us that we’re already being innovative.

putting grades online (thereby increasing their salience and their damaging effects), using computers to administer tests and score essays, and setting up “embedded” assessment that’s marketed as “competency-based.” (If your instinct is to ask “What sort of competency? Isn’t that just warmed-over behaviorism?”

But as I argued not long ago, we shouldn’t confuse personalized learning with personal learning. The first involves adjusting the difficulty level of prefabricated skills-based exercises based on students’ test scores, and it requires the purchase of software. The second involves working with each student to create projects of intellectual discovery that reflect his or her unique needs and interests, and it requires the presence of a caring teacher who knows each child well.a recent review found that studies of tech-based personalized instruction “show mixed results ranging from modest impacts to no impact” – despite the fact that it’s remarkably expensive.

 an article in Education Week, “a host of national and regional surveys suggest that teachers are far more likely to use tech to make their own jobs easier and to supplement traditional instructional strategies than to put students in control of their own learning.”

OECD reportednegative outcomes when students spent a lot of time using computers, while Stanford University’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) concluded that online charter schools were basically a disaster.

Larry Cuban, Sherry Turkle, Gary Stager, and Will Richardson.

Emily Talmage points out, uncannily aligned with the wish list of the Digital Learning Council, a group consisting largely of conservative advocacy groups and foundations, and corporations with a financial interest in promoting ed tech.

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more on educational technology in this IMS blog
http://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims?s=educational+technology

school librarians fears

School librarians fear a ‘quiet crisis’ is endangering their place in the education world

the digital age only exacerbates the need for a school librarian, which he describes as a position that far exceeds “book manager.”
A bill sponsored by Sen. Becky Harris in the 2017 session proposed changing that. SB143 would have required public schools, including charters, to maintain a school library and staff a certified librarian, except in specific circumstances.
“Students are technology literate when they come to Miller,” he said. “But they are informationally illiterate.”
The American Association of School Librarians is in the beginning stages of studying state policies regarding school libraries and librarians, said the organization’s president, Steven Yates. He doesn’t think eliminating school libraries or the position is a widespread movement in K-12 education, but he acknowledged that’s happening in more places than just Southern Nevada.

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more on media specialist in this IMS blgo
http://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims?s=media+specialist

Selecting LMS

A Guide to Picking a Learning Management System: The Right Questions to Ask

By Mary Jo Madda (Columnist)     Feb 14, 2017

https://www.edsurge.com/news/2017-02-14-a-guide-to-learning-management-systems-the-right-questions-to-ask

Over the past 10 years, new learning management systems (LMSs) have sprung on the scene to rival the Blackboards and Moodles of old. On the EdSurge Product Index alone, 56 products self-identify and fall into the LMS category. And with certain established companies like Pearson pulling out of the LMS ranks, where do you start?

As University of Central Florida’s Associate Vice President of Distributed Learning, Tom Cavanagh, wrote in an article for EDUCAUSE, “every institute has a unique set of instructional and infrastructure circumstances to consider when deciding on an LMS,” but at the same time, “all institutions face certain common requirements”—whether a small charter school, a private university or a large public school district.

The LMS Checklist

#1: Is the platform straightforward and user-friendly?

#2: Who do we want to have access to this platform, and can we adjust what they can see?

#3: Can the instructor and student(s) talk to and communicate with each other easily?

“Students and faculty live a significant portion of their daily lives online in social media spaces,” writes University of Central Florida’s Tom Cavanagh in his article on the LMS selection process. “Are your students and faculty interested in these sorts of interplatform connections?”

#5: Does this platform plug in with all of the other platforms we have?

“Given the pace of change and the plethora of options with educational technology, it’s very difficult for any LMS vendor to keep up with stand-alone tools that will always outperform built-in tools,” explains Michael Truong, executive director of innovative teaching and technology at Azusa Pacific University. According to Truong, “no LMS will be able to compete directly with tools like Piazza (discussion forum), Socrative (quizzing), EdPuzzle (video annotation), etc.” 

As a result, Truong says, “The best way to ‘prepare’ for future technological changes is to go with an LMS that plays well with external tools.

#6: Is the price worth the product?

A reality check: There is no perfect LMS.

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more on LMS in this IMS blog
http://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims?s=learning+management+systems

De Vos personalized learning common core

Betsy DeVos Touts Personalized Learning, Slams Common Core and Reform Efforts

By Jenny Abamu     Jan 16, 2018

https://www.edsurge.com/news/2018-01-16-betsy-devos-touts-personalized-learning-slams-common-core-and-reform-efforts

U.S. Education Secretary spared no words in her critique of education reform efforts during the Bush and Obama administrations. “I don’t think there is much we can hold onto, from a federal level, that we can say was a real success,”

This is not the first time DeVos has praised personalized learning. The education secretary visited Thomas Russell Middle School in Milpitas, Calif

Her vision of personalized learning has plenty of detractors. Educators and administrators have already begun to voice their reservations about personalized learning in schools. At a gathering of educators in Oakland last October speakers decried what they described as the privatization of public education through the introduction of technology initiatives such as personalized learning. More recently, former AltSchool educator Paul Emerich wrote a blog post titled, “Why I Left Silicon Valley, EdTech, and ‘Personalized’ Learning,” where he offered critiques of the personalized learning movement in his school. The post touched on concerns about his workload and interactions with students.

Parents are raising pressure too. In at least two states, their concerns over screen-time and digital content used in online educational platform has forced districts to suspend the implementation of technology-enabled personalized learning programs such as Summit Learning.

De Vos pointed to previous federal-led education funding programs as a “carrot” that made little or no impact. Her critique is not unfounded: A report published last year by the Education Department’s research division found that the $7 billion School Improvement Grants program made “no significant impacts” on test scores, high school graduation rates or college enrollment.

Common Core is currently adopted in 36 states, according to EdWeek’s Common Core Tracker, last updated September 2017.

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DeVos: ‘Common Core Is Dead’; A Large Online Charter School Is Shut Down

https://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2018/01/20/578705608/devos-common-core-is-dead-a-large-online-charter-school-is-shut-down

One of the largest online charter schools in the country closed this week amid a financial and legal dispute with the state of Ohio.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos in a keynote address this week to the American Enterprise Institute.
She also cited a survey by the American Federation of Teachers that 60 percent of its teachers reported having moderate to no influence over the content and skills taught in their own classrooms.
That same survey also noted that 86 percent of teachers said they do not feel respected by DeVos.

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more on personalized learning in this IMS blog
http://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims?s=personalized+learning

more on Common Core in this blog
http://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims?s=Common+core

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