Hard on the heels of the AFT's proposed for a "bar exam" for teachers, the Council of Chief State School Officers has come forth with a sober, comprehensive, and exceptionally well-thought-out set of recommendations for fundamentally revamping the preparation and licensure of both teachers and principals. This 38-page blueprint contains ten big recommendations that, if put into practice by states, would indeed be transformative.
Cast in straightforward, non-rabble-rousing language, in some respects doesn't go as far as it could. It does not, for example, do away with state-level certification of educators on grounds that research has found no link between such credentials and actual effectiveness. But it does seek to make certification meaningful by building exacting standards into the process, standards that rely on evidence of knowledge and performance rather than a checklist of courses taken. Also tucked in the recommendations are such bold ideas as serious acceptance of alternative pathways and "residency"-style preparation; insistence on real standards for entering prep programs and getting certified; the demand that prep programs respond to K–12 education's actual supply-demand numbers rather than enrolling as many people as possible (thus probably killing the proverbial ed-school "cash cow" within universities); and tracking the performance of those emerging from various prep programs and institutions—and actually closing those that don't produce successful professionals.
Underlying all this is the fact that states have plenty of leverage that could be used to boost the quality and effectiveness of the education workforce and most of them haven't been using much of it. Of
There is very little to be added to what's already been said about Friday's horrendous murders at Sandy Hook Elementary School—President Obama has eloquently expressed the heartfelt feelings of millions, myself included.
But there is one small education point worth noting: Sandy Hook is a terrific school. Check out its solid "10" from GreatSchools, based on its as-good-as-any-in-the-state academic achievement. Read the glowing comments you will find there from half a dozen parents. You can also read the school's "core character attributes" in the school’s mission statement. And you will say to yourself, as I did, that this is the kind of school anyone would be satisfied indeed to have one's daughter or son attend. May those who perished rest in peace. And may Sandy Hook, in time, resume its outstanding education record.
Both Brooklyn, NY, and Northwest D.C. are home to emotionally charged, racially tinged fights over neighborhood school boundaries. Urbanists beware: As the “great inversion” continues and our cities gentrify, this is a sign of things to come.
In Brooklyn, the fight is focused on two elementary schools in Park Slope. One of these, P.S. 321, is overcrowded, the result of a baby boom in its increasingly affluent community, as well as of a school-system policy that allows students to stay at the school even after their families move elsewhere in the city. To deal with the crowding, officials plan to shrink its attendance zone, which means redistricting some children into a new school to be opened a few blocks away.
That second school stirs anxieties among many middle-class parents because it will be more socioeconomically diverse. As Naomi Schaefer Riley opined in the New York Post,
Aren’t Park Slopers looking for diversity? Writing at Park Slope Patch last year, neighborhood resident Louise Crawford asked parents and leaders “What Matters to Park Slope.” From the president of the Park Slope Civic Council to the head of the advocacy group Park Slope Neighbors, diversity topped nearly everyone’s lists….
Matthew Didner, the acting chair of a group of parents whose kids are now zoned for the new school, tells me
Modern urban parents face a quandary: Will the public schools in their walkable, socioeconomically diverse communities provide a strong education for their kids? Mike Petrilli shed light on this question in his book, The Diverse Schools Dilemma. Here’s a roundup of recent and forthcoming media attention that Petrilli’s book has garnered.
Reviews and articles
In his second review of the Diverse Schools Dilemma (you can read the first here), the Washington Post’s Jay Mathews expounds on Petrilli’s insights into parenting-style variance: “If middle class and low-income parents have different methods with their kids and different expectations for their schools, how do principals and teachers serve both populations?” (11/29/12)
Rick Hess, writing for his Education Week blog Straight Up, calls Petrilli a “model of perpetual angst himself when it comes to [choosing schools for his kids]” and the book a terrific blend of “personal anecdotes, surprising evidence, and conversations with researchers and parents.” (12/7/12)
Mike Petrilli was quoted in a New York Post article on the school boundary controversy raging in Brooklyn’s Park Slope: “He says upper-class parents ‘like racial diversity because they want their kids to be comfortable in a multiracial society, but they are not excited about socioeconomic diversity’ because it will start to affect the quality of the education.” (12/6/12)
About the Editor
Michael J. Petrilli
Executive Vice President
Mike Petrilli is one of the nation's foremost education analysts. As executive vice president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, he oversees the organization's research projects and publications and contributes to the Flypaper blog and weekly Education Gadfly newsletter.
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