Today’s post is a bit of a Board’s Eye View swan song, as I am embarking on two new projects that take me off “the board” as they widen my “view” considerably. I will be helping David Steiner, dean of education at Hunter College and former New York State commissioner of education, establish a new Institute for Education Policy at City University of New York. We hope to make the Institute an important forum for issues facing K-20 urban education. I will also be helping Ann Tisch, founder and chair of The Young Women’s Leadership Network, create a new and innovative curriculum for urban high school students. This too will be an exciting project, designed to bring essential twenty-first-century skills to our urban students.
What I hope to bring to both endeavors are some of the insights gleaned while serving on my small public district’s board of education and writing for the last twenty-five months (this is my 400th blog post for Fordham, but who’s counting?) about school governance...
The lessons of school board service do not quickly dissipate. My feelings about BOE service are similar to those of the new Bridging Differences interlocutory Pedro Noguera (taking Diane Ravitch’s place). Known for his education scholarship at the University of California, Berkeley, Harvard, and now New York University, Noguera spent four years on the Berkeley school board. He didn’t have a good time. California was “in the midst of yet another fiscal
A knockout story in The Atlantic by education journalist Peg Tyre describes the wonderful turnaround of a Staten Island high school that the turnarounders attribute to a writing program. Yes, that’s right, writing.
This comes at a time when there is some debate about the Common Core English language arts standards (see here and here, as well as The Atlantic profile of David Coleman, and just about anything our Common Core guru Kathleen Porter-Magee has written) and the first contracts awarded by the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Career (known, mercifully, as PARCC) to write the ELA tests for the Common Core.
Tyre, who is the author of The Good School: How Smart Parents Get Their Kids the Education They Deserve and The Trouble With Boys: A Surprising Report Card on Our Sons, Their Problems at School, and What Parents & Educators Must Do, has a great grasp of these issues and tells us that the writing program increased pass rates for the English Regents exam from 67 percent to 89 percent and global history from 64 to 75 in just two years. It is the latter bump that prompted a friend of mine to send the story to E.D. Hirsch, which prompted Hirsch to offer some intriguing insights about Tyre’s story (see below).
One of the keys to New Dorp’s success with “writing revolution,” a program inspired by one developed by
It may not be a coincidence that the most valuable modern painting is Edvard Munch’s The Scream and that new research suggests that the most effective merit-pay system is the threat of—Aaaaaah!!!—no pay.
What does The Scream have in common with merit pay?
Photo by Ian Burt.
Jay Greene takes on the issue in a wonderfully sassy post this morning headlined “In Chicago—Phony Merit Pay is Dead, Long Live True Merit Pay.” He recognizes that the ink isn’t dry on the deal hammered out between the Chicago Public Schools and the striking Chicago Teachers Union, but he suggests that it was a blessing (in disguise?) that CPS gave up on its attempt at “differentiated compensation” but retained the right to open new charter schools. As Greene argues, the former is “phony” merit pay and the latter is “true” merit pay:
In phony merit pay—the kind that hardly exists in any industry—there is a mechanistic calculation of performance that determines the size of a small bonus that is provided in addition to a base salary that is essentially guaranteed regardless of performance. You can stink and still keep your job and pay. The worst that can happen
I can’t get enough of the Chicago teachers’ union strike. Leave it to the Windy City to provide educators and education pundits with drama worthy of a reality TV series: interesting protagonists, things to fight over, edge-of-your-seat drama.
Leave it to the Windy City to provide educators and education pundits with drama worthy of a reality TV series.
We thought it would be over in time to open schools this morning. But a 3 a.m. email blast from Whitney Tilson had the bad news:
In an astonishing development, the Chicago Teachers Union today voted to continue its strike until at least the middle of this coming week.
Tilson said his “first thought” was sympathy for the parents and children. But his second thought?
…that the outrageous, selfish, greedy behavior by the union is an absolute godsend to we reformers. Parents in Chicago - and everyone else who's paying attention across the country - are so mad that they can't see straight - and it's now 100% directed at the union. This will benefit us in Chicago and nationally for years to come.
By coincidence, while I was reading Tilson’s email, NPR’s Morning Edition
- Stretching the School Dollar
- Common Core Watch
- Ohio Gadfly Daily
- Board's Eye View
- Choice Words
About the Editor
Peter Meyer is an adjunct fellow with the Thomas B. Fordham Institute. Since 1991, Meyer has focused his attentions on education reform in the United States, an interest joined while writing a profile of education reformer E.D. Hirsch for Life. Meyer subsequently helped found a charter school, served on his local Board of Education (twice) and, for the last eight years, has been an editor at Education Next.
May 16, 2013
Sign Up for updates from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute
- Daniel Willingham: Science and Education Blog
- National School Board Association’s School Board News Today
- National Governors Association Center for Best Practices
- Texas Association of School Boards
- New York State School Board Association
- Florida School Boards Association
- California School Boards Association
- Program on Education Policy and Governance
- The Center for Research on Education Outcomes