Education Policy & Practice

Archive for December 2009

Plan to raise standards for new teachers proceeds | Rhode Island news | | The Providence Journal. [tweetmeme=”wordpress”]

Rhode Island‘s Education Commissioner, Deborah A. Gist, wants to raise the bar and elevate the cut score requirement on the state-required basic skills test  for prospective teachers. I’ve been shaking my head for a while trying to understand how it is seemingly so easy for someone to take the reigns of a classroom and be called “teacher.”

This is the same leader who directed her superintendents to end teacher assignments based on seniority.  I may have to pay closer attention to what’s happening in Rhode Island.

Commissioner Gist was appointed to her current post in April, arriving in Rhode Island after serving as state superintendent of education and chief education officer in the District of Columbia.


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YES!  That’s my answer, no question about it.  In my experience as a teacher, I couldn’t have enough data.  How can we provide the best possible educational experience for students without utilizing data to its fullest extent at the classroom, school and district levels?  And let’s not forget that “data” is not just numbers (the qualitative researcher in me is speaking now).

– Jacob’s attitude was a bit different today
– Kelly wasn’t as alert as she usually is
– Brian doesn’t usually get into verbal altercations like he did today

Paying attention to students and asking questions about their attitudes, dispositions, behavior will yield rich data that when coupled with test scores and attendance figures, for example, widens your purview of each student.   Beyond data collection, however, is the need to then do something about what you’ve learned.  I believe teachers must be observant, invested, and committed to data.  How else can you be an effective teacher?

Jennifer Morrison, award-winning teacher, proposes three attitude shifts in her article (see below) that would help teachers learn to love data:

  1. Realize that data are more than end-of-year standardized test scores.
  2. View data collection as a way to investigate the many questions about students, teaching practices, and learning that arise from any committed teacher.
  3. Begin talking with other teachers about what data reveal and how to build on those revelations.

Read this article from Educational Leadership:


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Yesterday, I submitted a blog post that highlighted Shane Battier and Myron Rolle, two standout African-American male scholar athletes from Duke University and Florida State University respectively. These young men highlighted their personal stories through their “I Am What I Learn” videos, publicized on the U.S. Department of Education website.

Sadly, the other reality, which I fear is significantly more common, is the academic deficit our African-American male athlete suffer.  The Grio reports the findings of a study that shows graduation rates widening between blacks and whites in college football.  According to the report, which was released on Monday by the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport at the University of Central Florida:

Overall academic progress continued while the gap between white and African-American football student-athletes increased slightly for the 67 Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) schools (formerly known as Division I-A schools) playing in this year’s college football bowl games.

Troubling figures in the study that show an increase in the disparity include:

  • 57 schools (up from 56 in 2008‐09) or 85 percent had graduation success rates of 66 percent or higher for white football student‐athletes, which was more than 2.8 times the number of schools with equivalent graduation success rates for African‐American football student‐athletes (20 schools or 30 percent).
  • 21 schools (up from 19 in 2008‐09) or 31 percent graduated less than 50 percent of their African‐American football student‐athletes, while only two schools graduated less than 50 percent of their white football student‐athletes.
  • Seven schools (up from five schools in 2008‐09) or 10 percent graduated less than 40 percent of their African‐American football student‐athletes, while no school graduated less than 40 percent of their white football student‐athletes.
  • 14 schools (up from 12 schools in 2008‐09) or 21 percent had graduation success rates for African‐American football student‐athletes that were at least 30 percent lower than their rates for white football student‐athletes.
  • 35 schools (up from 29 schools in 2008‐09) or 52 percent had graduation success rates for African‐American football student‐athletes that were at least 20 percent lower than their rates for white football student‐athletes

Colleges and Universities are held accountable for the success of student-athletes in the classroom, as well as their progression towards graduation.  While I agree with holding their feet to the fire, the problem of chronic and severe underperformance among minority student-athletes starts long before they step foot on a college campus.

Read the full report:


Shane Battier, Duke basketball standout now in his 9th season with the Houston Rockets: “People looked at me and didn’t give me a chance to be a good student.” (1:50)

Myron Rolle, a “true student athlete.” 

On the day of the first snowfall of the season, KIPP Ujima Village Academy was victorious in its 19 to 14 win over Calverton in the flag football championship on the St. Paul’s school campus.

The mission of KIPP Baltimore is to create and operate public schools in Baltimore City that lead students from low socioeconomic backgrounds and a diversity of skill levels to attend and succeed in four-year colleges. KIPP Baltimore currently operates two schools in the Park Heights community of Baltimore.

KIPP Ujima Village Academy was founded in 2002 by KIPP Baltimore Executive Director, Jason Botel and where Shawn Toler is the Principal.   KUVA is a public charter school in Baltimore City.  During its seven years in operation, KUVA has been ranked as the highest performing public middle school in Baltimore City.

KIPP Harmony Academy, starting in August 2009 by Principal Natalia Walter, is a public charter elementary school that holds high expectations for student achievement that will put children on the path to college beginning in Kindergarten.

Stay up to date and follow KIPP Baltimore on Twitter and Facebook.


Education Policy & Practice

December 2009

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