Community Schools Defended In New York City

A major expansion of community schools is being attacked in New York City. You can read what its defenders are saying in an article headlined Buery, Fariña defend community schools’ academics.

Here’s an excerpt:

Deputy mayor Richard Buery on Monday defended the community school model’s efficacy in improving student academic outcomes after the administration announced partnerships between social services agencies and 45 new community schools.

While Mayor Bill de Blasio has made community schools a central part of his education agenda, critics have said there is mixed research on whether the community school model actually improves academic achievement in low-income neighborhoods.

During a press conference after the announcement, Buery cited studies showing academic gains for community schools in Boston and Tulsa, Oklahoma. In Tulsa, for example, some community schools outperformed their peers in math by 32 points and in English by 19 points on state exams, according to a Department of Education press release.

“Just calling it a community school and bringing in resources by itself does not, of course, guarantee increased academic achievement,” Buery said. “What community schools are all about is increasing the capacity for learning,” he added, stressing a familiar theme for community schools supporters.

I’m adding this info to The Best Resources For Learning About Community Schools.

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Excellent Comment By Barnett Berry On The Parent Trigger

The Hechinger Report has a piece on the parent trigger that seems particularly slanted in its favor. That’s a bit surprising to me, since their work is usually pretty objective.

However, it does include a very good comment from Barnett Berry from the Center For Teacher Quality:

Barnett Berry, founder and CEO of the nonprofit Center for Teacher Quality, also finds the group [Parent Revolution] suspect. He says the movement would fall flat were it not for the funding. “As long as wealthy individuals continue to market parent trigger, as long as there’s money behind these matters, the group will stay in the news and give us a sense that the movement still has momentum,” he says.

You might also be interested in The Best Resources For Learning Why The Parent Trigger Isn’t Good For Parents, Kids Or Schools.

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“Leading Wild Horses: Why Parents and Schools Must Unite”

Leading Wild Horses: Why Parents and Schools Must Unite is a thoughtful post by Marilyn Price-Mitchell over at Psychology Today.

Here’s an excerpt:

When parents and teachers focus only on their positions and not on the greater purpose of their work and shared vision, they limit their thinking. Of course, this limited thinking causes teachers to blame parents and parents to blame teachers when expectations fall short.

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“Concern over charter schools’ requirement for volunteer time”

Concern over charter schools’ requirement for volunteer time is the headline of an article in The San Francisco Chronicle.

Here’s how it begins:

At least 170 California charter schools are violating the state Constitution by requiring parents to volunteer up to 100 hours a year if they want their kids to participate in field trips and other activities or remain enrolled in the school, according to civil rights lawyers in a report released Thursday.

The Sacramento Bee has an even more extensive article on the report.

I’m all for parent involvement, but making it a requirement is a step too far. What’s particularly concerning to me is that, notwithstanding denials of charter operators, parent “violations” of this requirement are just one more excuse to “counsel out” students that they want to move out to regular schools.

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“To Help Language Skills of Children, a Study Finds, Text Their Parents With Tips”

To Help Language Skills of Children, a Study Finds, Text Their Parents With Tips is the headline of a New York Times article about a new study. It found that sending text messages to parents of very young children (like “Let your child hold the book. Ask what it is about. Follow the words with your finger as you read”) were more advanced academically than those whose parents did not receive them.

I thought that was interesting, particularly since another study that I’ve posted about in my other blog where adolescent students received encouraging texts was deemed a failure (I don’t have time right now to find that link but will add it later). Perhaps parents of very young children are in a more motivated frame of mind? I wonder how this experiment would work with parents of older children?

I’m adding this info to two “Best” lists:

“The Best Research Available On Parent Engagement”

The Best Resources For Learning About The “Word Gap”

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“States Listen as Parents Give Rampant Testing an F”

States Listen as Parents Give Rampant Testing an F is an important New York Times article focusing on parent resistance to standardized testing, particularly in Florida:

which tests students more frequently than most other states, many schools this year will dedicate on average 60 to 80 days out of the 180-day school year to standardized testing. In a few districts, tests were scheduled to be given every day to at least some students.

I’m adding it to The Best Posts On Parents “Opting-Out” Of Standardized Tests For Their Children.

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New York City Mayor Vows Community Schools Expansion

New York City Mayor Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a huge increase in the number of Community Schools in the city.

You can read about his announcement in these two articles:

De Blasio Unveils New Plans for Troubled Schools in New York

Read Mayor Bill de Blasio’s speech outlining a $150M plan for school improvement is from Chalkbeat.

I’m adding this info to The Best Resources For Learning About Community Schools.

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Home Visits Are “about identifying parents and teachers as “co-educators”

All in the Family: How Teacher Home Visits Can Lead to School Transformation is an excellent article in NEA Today.

Here’s an excerpt:

This isn’t “parent involvement,” in the form of Valentine’s Day parties, or “parent communication,” in the form of one-way emails. Rather, this is about identifying parents and teachers as “co-educators,” who share respective knowledge about that student. It’s about helping teachers become culturally aware and parents seriously involved in their child’s education.

I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About Teacher Home Visits.

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Dumb Virginia Law Gets Thrown-Out: Bringing Kids To School Late Is Not A Crime

A Virginia court has ruled that parents cannot be charged with a crime if their kids come to school late.

Here’s an excerpt from The Washington Post article, Va. Supreme Court: Parents can’t be charged when kids are late to school:

The court’s decision stemmed from a 2012 case in Loudoun County in which Maureen Blake, a divorced mother of three, was convicted of three misdemeanor charges for her children’s lateness and fined $1,000 for each count. Millette wrote in his decision that each charge was based on five instances in which the children, then ages 8, 10 and 11, were late, generally by about five to 20 minutes.

Blake stated that some of the tardiness was attributable to one child’s struggle with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, behavioral problems on the part of the children or Blake’s own ADHD, for which she was receiving treatment.

What a dumb prosecution of a dumb law. Jeez, if our schools took to court every parent whose kids were five to twenty minutes late five times a year, we’d have a zillion court cases. More importantly, it would likely mean instead of their being late, they just wouldn’t come to school that day at all. Plus, it will really generate a lot of positive feelings among parents — NOT!

Even though it’s been thrown-out, I’ve still got to add it to The Worst Parent Engagement Ideas.

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It Looks Like Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Might Be Getting Serious About Parent Engagement

Can CMS get more parents involved in educating our children? is the headline of an article in Charlotte’s newspaper about a meeting District staff had with Karen Mapp, one of the most respected experts around on parent engagement.

Here’s an excerpt:

Her message was simple: If districts truly want parents to be engaged, they must do a better job of inviting them in and listening to what parents say they need and want. And this effort, she said, must extend beyond the schools to include the entire district.

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Heinz Foundation Puts Big Money Into What Actually Might Be Effective Parent Engagement

The Heinz Endowments have just made a $600,000 commitment to parent engagement in Pittsburgh. And what’s particularly promising about it is that they’re doing it in partnership with the Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University, a group that has a good grasp of parent engagement (as opposed to parent involvement).

Read about it at How can more Pittsburgh parents become engaged in their kids’ education?

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