In teaching high school history and graduate university courses for many years, I have team taught with other history and English teachers and university colleagues many times. For example, Roberta Rabinoff Kaplan and I taught English and social studies at Cardozo High School in the mid-1960s. And in Stanford University’s teacher education program, I team taught a social studies curriculum and instruction course for a decade with Lee Swenson, then an Aragon High School history teacher. Historian David Tyack and I teamed up to teach “History of School Reform” between 1987 and 1998. Tinkering toward Utopiacame out of our collaboration.
I enjoyed very much the planning together and actual teaching that I and my team-mates did. Sure there were conflicts over choice of content, which materials to use, who would do what and when during the lesson, and similar decisions. More often than not, we negotiated in order to collaborate and conflicts eased. In every instance of team teaching at Cardozo High School in Washington, D.C. and at Stanford University, arrangements were made informally rather than part of an organizational initiative to spread the collaboration.
Yet at one time team teaching was a “best practice” promoted by national associations, districts, and individual schools. It is hard to recapture just with words the national excitement over the innovation of team teaching introduced in the late-1950s after the Soviet Union launched the Sputnik satellite. Team teaching then was seen as the solution to the organizational problem of stodgy, individualistic teaching in the age-graded school’s self-contained classrooms when collaboration was rare and isolation was the rule. It was considered a “best practice” of the day. Yet as a buzzword, team teaching in K-12 classrooms flew like a shooting star across the educational sky in the 1960s and disappeared by the mid-1970s leaving little cosmic dust in its wake. Of course, team teaching exists in U.S. classrooms now but what it was and its history is a tale in of itself.
What is team teaching? In brief, team teaching is collaborative planning and enactment of lessons among two or more teachers in a building; sometimes called co-teaching it can happen in elementary schools at grade level while in secondary schools team teaching occurs within and across academic subject departments (e.g., history and English, science and math, art and English). In some instances, teachers are responsible for large groups of students as in open space elementary schools once popular in the 1970s. These teachers decide when to have all students together for lectures, small discussion groups, and independent work. So there are many variations in the form and content of teach teaching (see here, and here).
What problems did team teaching aim to solve? Promoters of the innovation in the 1960s and since saw team teaching as a way of breaking down the organizational barriers embedded in the age-graded school organization such as each teacher with her own classrooms isolated from peers in the same grade or department. Isolation of teachers from one another in comparing and contrasting approaches to lessons prevented collaboration that, in turn, limited students’ exposure to different ideas and ways of teaching and, at the same time limited teacher growth in subject matter, pedagogy, and managing students. Both critics of and advocates for public schools noted how little collaboration occurred between professionals in schools.
Did team teaching work? Anecdotal evidence from teachers more often than not underscored increases in job satisfaction that team teaching brought to participants. As to whether team teaching produced gains or losses in student academic performance, well, research findings are mixed (see here, here, and here). The literature, as scarce as it is, comprises dissertations, studies of particular teams in a school, and similar case studies (see here, here, here, and here)
As to solving the problems of teacher isolation and insulation within the age-graded school, I have not yet found any such evidence. To look for evidence, researchers have had to document the situation in schools prior to introduction of team teaching then whether schools modified their schedules sufficiently to give teams of teachers adequate time to plan and coordinate teacher schedules, especially in secondary schools, as well as insert into weekly schedules back-to-back classes so the team teaching could be enacted. Again, such studies I have yet to find.
What has happened to team teaching?
Both formal and informal team teaching continues in U.S.schools. No longer an attractive slogan , elementary and secondary school teachers of like mind and with a cooperative principal work out arrangements to team teach for a few years and then return to their usual routines. With the ubiquity of classroom technologies and the buzz around “personalized learning,” team teaching has become a way of teachers( special education and regular classroom teachers working together as coaches of teachers, teams working at grade level responsible for large groups of students, and the like (see here). And there are schools that rediscover team teaching and crow about it (see here).
Finally, other variations of teaming have emerged over time such as teacher residencies where a beginning teacher (akin to medical residencies in hospitals) is paired with an experienced teacher and both work to teach students cooperatively and the neophyte over a two-year period gains important content and skill knowledge as well as techniques to manage classrooms when they become full fledged teachers (see here, here, and here).
Upon getting on Twitter in 2009, I was not only baffled about how to use the social media site but also about all the symbols associated with it. There was no apparent rhyme or reason to using these in any messages whether long or short. One of them was the hashtag (#). Before Twitter I referred to this as the “pound sign” on the telephone and only used it as such. I’d say that this is still one of the least understood elements of social media that either scares people off from using this tool or annoys the heck out of others resulting in a lack of embracement. Developing an understanding of the immense value that hashtags provide regarding communications, public relations, and branding can go a long way to facilitating great conversations about the great work happening in education and schools across the globe.
Let’s start by defining what a hashtag (#) is in the sense of social media. A simple search reveals this:
(on social media sites such as Twitter) a word or phrase preceded by a hash or pound sign (#) and used to identify categorized messages on a specific topic.
Back in 2013 Mashable provided the following description that adds more context as well as some great tips:
The pound sign (or hash) turns any word or group of words that directly follow it into a searchable link. This allows you to organize content and track discussion topics based on those keywords. Click on a hashtag to see all the posts that mention the subject in real time.
Spaces are an absolute no-no. Even if your hashtag contains multiple words, group them all together. If you want to differentiate between words, use capitals instead (#BlueJasmine). Uppercase letters will not alter your search results. Create a brand-new hashtag by merely putting the hash (#) before a series of words. Beyond simply organizing your tweets, Twitter hashtags can help you craft your voice while joining in a broader discussion. You can use multiple hashtags in one tweet, but don’t go overboard.
Once only specific to Twitter, hashtags can now be used on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and even Google+ for the few of us that are still active there. The key to success with hashtags is to know when to use them, the best examples to add to social media messages, how they can amplify work, and knowing which ones to follow. To begin check out the resource page curated by Jerry Blumengarten, otherwise known as Cybrary Man. He has some great lists that can help get you started. Following the simple advice above, my list of strategies to help you get the most out of hashtags is below.
Get more eyeballs on your ideas and work by using a mainstream hashtag (i.e., #education, #edtech, #pedagogy, #teaching).
Search hot topics and trends that are categorized by educators thought and leaders.
Lurk on or join an established chat (see some examples HERE).
Create a unique hashtag for your classroom, school, district, or organization to communicate information and share your story. Consistently add it to all messages to build a powerful brandED presence. For some great examples check out #ExploreWells and #gocrickets.
Engage in an online book study or start your own.
Educate your stakeholders on the why, how, and what, as it relates to hashtags. Don’t assume that they know what these are or how to use them.
Follow conferences and events from afar. When at an event add the designated # to your messages that share not only the thoughts and ideas of presenters but also ones unique to you.
Use your hashtag or those that you most engage with, across a diverse array of social networks. Don’t just put your eggs in the Twitter basket.
Know that hashtags have a different impact depending on the social media site. One that is popular on Twitter might not have the same impact on say Facebook or Instagram.
I am sure there are many more thoughts out there on this topic, and I encourage you to share them in the comments below. Hashtags can occur anywhere in a message. Just don’t get crazy and add too many.
John Hattie Answers Your Visible Learning Questions!
Last spring, we gave you the opportunity to submit your burning questions about the Visible Learning research or student achievement to Professor John Hattie, the researcher behind the largest evidence base on K-12 student achievement in the world. I was able to track him down to ask him those questions. This post is an excerpt from our conversation, focusing specifically on questions that dig deeper into effect sizes.
Amanda Boudria: Professor Hattie, thank you so much for talking with me today. I’m going to start with a question submitted by a team leader in Montreal that you probably get a lot. She asks, “Why does inquiry-based learning have an effect size of 0.31 when it is an approach to learning that seems to engage students and teachers so readily in the process of learning?”
John Hattie: We need to be careful when we say we like things because they engage kids in the process of learning. Getting kids to play video games will engage them in those things. Sometimes work is just hard and we have to recognize that and teach kids that it’s just hard. It is a very interesting question about why the effect size of inquiry-based learning is very, very small. And I spent quite a bit of time over the past few years trying to understand it because it sounds pretty impressive. It sounds like it’s the kind of thing we should be doing. But I am an evidence-based person. So I look at the evidence, see why the effect of inquiry- and problem-based learning is so low, and it’s only by asking that question that you can start to understand what is happening. It turns out that if you’re learning surface-level information, the content, as opposed to deep-learning, the relationship with the content, inquiry-based learning, is pretty useless. But if you don’t teach the surface-level information, you’ve got nothing to inquire about. So the major reason I would argue that inquiry-based learning is wrong, is that it’s introduced too early. It’s introduced before the students have the ideas. It’s introduced when some kids have enough knowledge to do the whole notion of inquiry- and problem-based but other kids are left behind. So one of the arts is to know when to introduce inquiry-based. If you’re trying to get the kids to build up some sufficient knowledge and understanding and vocabulary, that’s the wrong time. Once they have, it is the right time. So yes, it can work. The reason it comes out very low on the chart is because most teachers introduce it far too early.
AB: That makes sense. Next up, from an educational consultant also in Canada: Can you talk about variation in effect size for the principal in terms of the instructional leader and the transformational leader?
JH: There was a period in history where everything seemed to be good, and all the people said you just need to look at successful business people. Successful business people are transformative leaders. They go about transforming the system. Well, it turns out that we’re a different business. Students are our unit of analysis, not dollars. Don’t you wish it could be that easy? It’s not that easy. The leaders that really make a difference are what Viviane Robinson calls the “instructional leader”. I call it the “high-impact” leader. It doesn’t matter what you call it. It’s the leader who goes into the school and starts the conversation about what impact means.
Do teachers have a common understanding of what a year’s growth for a year’s input means? That’s a difficult conversation because teachers have very strong beliefs about those things. The difficulty in some schools is that they’re all over the place in terms of what they understand a year’s growth means in music, in history, in physics. A principal needs to be prepared to have that conversation, prepared to question the teachers, and prepared to say “let’s look at the evidence you use.” Great leaders are also constantly giving reinforcement. But more importantly, when teachers are seeing growth in all their students, they are great leaders. Find ways to esteem great leaders. And I think that’s what instructional leadership means. Transformation: not good enough. On top of transformational leadership, we need instructional leadership.
AB: This one is actually a question from our very own, Ainsley Rose! Several of his clients in the U.S. are interested in calculating the connection between effect size and percentile rating. Is there a correlation between the two, and if so, what is the means to compare them?
JH: Yes, that’s a very technical question so I’m going to give it a very technical answer. Yes, there is a way to do it. Unfortunately, you have to use something that is not easy and not obvious. But I’d express a lot of caution. Percentiles have some major problems. The whole point of percentiles is to compare students to other students. And yes, there is a place for that, I suppose, but what I’m much more interested in with the effect size notion is the learning for each individual student, and when you look at the averages of the effect size, you’ve in sense got a comparison. So yes, you can make a transformation between the percentile rankings and effect sizes. It’s not a straightforward one. It’s not an easy one. I’m not even sure it’s a worthwhile one. But yes, you can do it. Much more important I think is the beauty of effect sizes, given they are so simple to calculate, is that they start to give you a sense of the magnitude notion. So yes it can be done, but it is not the wisest thing to do…And thanks, Ainsley.
AB: This is a good one. A teacher in Chippewa, MI submitted asks: “How can we prioritize which influences to focus on during the school year?”
JH: Well, I think the question of prioritization is really critical. We need to be really careful that we understand our school before approaching this. One of the things we do in our work with schools is a needs assessment, but we have a fancy name now: we call it the Visible Learning Matrix. We go in to get a good sense of what’s working well so we can continue to do those things, and also what kinds of things we want to change. Having a collective understanding of the actual problems we need to work on is critical. But at all times, we need to be very careful not to make changes to things that are really working. So that’s where the prioritization starts. Then, schools and districts can map that to the high-probability effects from the research side of things so were not only doing things that have proven to work well in the school context but also using those high-probability effects for the interventions.
Amanda Boudria oversees marketing for Corwin Australia, Visible Learningplus, and Author Consulting. During a yearlong assignment serving low-income communities, Amanda discovered her personal mission to help advance the quality and availability of education. When she has free time, she practices yoga, paints, and spends time with friends and family. Connect with Amanda on Twitter and LinkedIn!
As Schools Comb Social Media for Potential Threats, Has Mass Shooting Anxiety Turned Administrators Into the ‘Internet Police’?
It began with the 1999 mass shooting at Columbine High School in suburban Denver, when two students opened fire and killed 15 people, including themselves.
The aftermath of the tragedy saw the debut of Safe2Tell, a tool that lets parents and students anonymously report information about potential school shootings and other violent threats. Safe2Tell is still in use today. But it began with a simple data point: In most school shootings, at least one person had information about the plans prior to the attack.
“People will call and report, ‘My friend said that they were going to kill themselves,’ and then law enforcement will go out and investigate, and in many of these situations, lives have been saved,” said Beverly Kingston, director of the Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence at the University of Colorado Boulder and a former Safe2Tell board member. “So it’s one of these things [that poses the question], ‘Why don’t we have this system throughout the nation to do this?’ It just helps protect everyone’s safety.”
Nearly two decades after Columbine, such tools have become an industry unto themselves and extend far beyond anonymous reporting. Particularly in the aftermath of this year’s shootings in Parkland, Florida, and Sante Fe, Texas, school and law enforcement officials are turning to social media as a way to head off potential violence before a single shot is fired. The reason: As a key platform for student self-expression, social media has also become an outlet for youth to broadcast school shooting threats and suicide warnings.
A Toy Gun, a Snapchat Post, and an Arrest
New tools use artificial intelligence to search for potential threats on students’ social media profiles and scan school-issued laptops in search of keywords that could spell trouble. After the Parkland shooting, lawmakers in Florida took it a step further and mandated a new database that combines law enforcement and social services records with social media activity to help officials investigate students who post suspicious or threatening information online.
While the tools promise to protect kids, they also pose questions about how far schools can encroach on student privacy in the name of keeping them safe.
Every bit of information could be helpful during emergency situations, said Kenneth Trump, president of National School Safety and Security Services. But he questioned the extent to which schools should be asked to monitor students’ off-campus behavior.
“The question becomes, ‘Where do you draw the line?’” he said. “How much can we reasonably expect of a building principal or a system principal or maybe a dean to be the internet police?”
‘Outcries for help’
To Gary Margolis, helping school officials identify online threats is crucial. Formerly the police chief at the University of Vermont, he observed the growth of social media from a law enforcement perspective. In the internet age, he said, “outcries for help” moved beyond students passing notes or exchanging whispers in the locker room.
Now, those outcries occur online.
In response, Margolis founded Social Sentinel to help schools pick up on troubling social media posts. Social Sentinel collects social media data and uses artificial intelligence to run posts against a “library of harm” containing some 450,000 phrases, keywords, hashtags — even emojis — that he said could indicate a suspicious post. School districts are then notified, via email or text message.
Inside the $3 Billion School Security Industry: Companies Market Sophisticated Technology to ‘Harden’ Campuses, but Will It Make Us Safe?
“In the absence of a service like Social Sentinel, it’s impossible to be part of the conversation,” he said. Once the program flags content for school officials, it’s up to them to act on the information. He declined to provide specific examples of how the platform has been used to thwart violence.
Among the districts using the tool is Ohio’s Lebanon City Public Schools. Each morning, Superintendent Todd Yohey, school police and the district human resources director get posts the platform flags as potentially problematic. The tool doesn’t offer identifiable information beyond the social media accounts the post came from, but Yohey said anonymity isn’t a big hurdle.
“Kids aren’t very good at hiding their identity,” he said. “There are times we’ve asked other kids, ‘Hey, do you know who this poster is?’” since students generally know their peers’ social media accounts.
Social Sentinel generally flags about one social media post a day for school officials in Lebanon City, Yohey said, and more often than not, the posts are benign. During the NBA playoffs last year, for example, the tool flagged multiple posts.
“There were a lot of posts about, ‘That three-pointer was the bomb,’ and so the word ‘bomb’ would trigger a notice to us,” he said. “You read that and you figure out, ‘Oh, they’re talking about the basketball game, and so it’s not concerning.’”
Still, stumbling onto just one threatening post would make the effort worthwhile, Yohey said, if it helped the school avert a tragedy. The tool would allow the district to react to a situation more quickly. “If we get a post that said, ‘I’m planning to take a bomb to school tomorrow,’ or ‘I planted a bomb at the elementary school,’ those of course would require immediate attention.”
In fact, a day after the Parkland shooting, a district student was arrested for texting a friend that he was going to shoot up a school. In response, Yohey issued a warning to students: “There is no such thing anymore as an empty threat; no jokes, no kidding around, no ‘I didn’t mean it.’”
Communications supervisor Linde Brinkhoff handles a Safe2Tell call at the Colorado State Patrol’s Denver regional communications center on Sept. 20, 2018. (AAron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
Although mass shootings this year caused a spike in anxiety and prompted heated policy debates, they are statistically rare and campuses have actually become safer in recent years, according to recent National Center for Education Statistics data.
Chad Marlow, senior advocacy and policy counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union, said he’s concerned about “subtle harms” schools could inflict by surveilling students. Monitoring could signal to students that they can’t use social media freely to share information with their friends. As schools crack down on student speech, students of color — who already face disproportionate suspension rates — could be most affected.
“The rules governing these things involve standards that are uncomfortably subjective,” he said. “Monitoring places many groups of students, who are already vulnerable by virtue of the communities that they are members of, in even greater places of vulnerability.”
In one instance, in 2013, an Alabama school district hired a security consultant to monitor the social media accounts of hundreds of students — an effort that the superintendent claimed, somewhat dubiously, was launched after the National Security Agency alerted school leaders to a student’s social media threat. The district surveillance effort resulted in the expulsion of 14 students, 12 of whom were black. While some students were expelled for posting pictures with guns, others were disciplined for “holding too much money” and for making the “OK” sign, which police said was a gang symbol.
In interviews, several social media monitoring companies have deflected concerns about government surveillance by noting that the services flag only content posted publicly on sites like Twitter and Facebook. Students concerned about privacy, company executives said, can update their privacy settings so their posts are only accessible to specific people.
Bowing to concerns from civil rights groups, an executive at one social media monitoring company said he changed his platform. The executive, Soter Technologies founder and CEO Derek Peterson, said the company disabled a feature in social media tool Digital Fly that allowed school districts to create a list of students with a history of posting troubling information online.
But the ACLU’s Marlow argues that social media monitoring programs meet the “textbook definition” of mass surveillance because they watch a large number of people at the same time.
“They can call it rose pedals in a field of daisies if they want, but it is absolutely surveillance,” Marlow said. “And surveillance has chilling effects on free speech.”
Monitoring students online doesn’t stop with social media. As more schools adopt “one-to-one computing” programs that place laptops in the hands of each student, some districts have equipped them with monitoring programsthat scan online activity like emails and search histories for signs of threats or illicit activity such as drug use. These tools have prompted concernsfrom digital privacy groups like the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which noted in a 2017 report that students are “backed into a corner” because they have no choice but to use the school-issued devices.
In one instance, in 2010, a Pennsylvania school district paid more than $600,000 to settle an invasion of privacy lawsuit after a high school student accused it of using the webcams on district laptops to take covert photos of students — including a picture of the teenager sleeping in his bed. The district later acknowledged it had taken more than 50,000 such pictures in an attempt to recover lost or stolen devices.
Karen Gullo, the foundation’s spokeswoman, said in a statement that monitoring tools that flag specific words “can cause false alarms and target innocent students.”
“Pervasive surveillance normalizes electronic snooping,” Gullo said, “and can keep kids from testing out new ideas and identities as they grow.”
‘See something, say something’
Ironically, after a decade of online innovations, some observers say the most effective, and least invasive, method of neutralizing threats remains the low-tech idea that surfaced nearly 20 years ago: tips from actual people.
Schools across the country have adopted the “See something, say something” mantra popularized after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. A half-dozen states already have anonymous tip lines replicating the Colorado model, and officials from more than 20 states have contacted Safe2Tell to inquire about the program since the Parkland shooting, a spokeswoman for Colorado’s attorney general said.
In October, the Justice Department announced more than $19 million in grants to develop anonymous reporting systems and threat assessment teams for schools. Congress appropriated the funds last spring through the STOP School Violence Act. Sandy Hook Promise, a nonprofit that operates the Say Something anonymous reporting system, lobbied for the federal law. School districts in nearly half the states in the country are implementing the Say Something system.
Last school year, Colorado’s reporting tool collected 16,000 anonymous tips, a 74 percent surge from just one year earlier. Post-Parkland, anonymous tips surged even more, Colorado attorney general Cynthia Coffman said in an interview.
“Kids were reacting to everything they saw and heard, particularly on social media,” Coffman said. “We’d have multiple reports from kids about the same social media post that said something about Parkland.”
Despite the increase in anonymous tips, it remains unclear what percentage of them represented true threats and resulted in intervention. Safe2Tell is collecting that data now, Coffman said. Still, the program boasts that school and law enforcement officials have intervened in multiple suicide and school shooting threats based on the tips.
But even this low-tech, relatively noninvasive approach has drawbacks. On several occasions, people have used Safe2Tell to bully other students by filing false reports. In one case, a 15-year-old girl claimed someone filed three false tips that she was suicidal and used drugs. On two occasions, she said police pulled her out of class to question her.
In order to discourage false reports, Coffman said people can be charged with a misdemeanor if they use the system to harass others.
While the bevy of tools on the market for educators to see students’ online activity are helpful, officials need to put the information into context and consider the student’s broader behavior, said Marisa Randazzo, managing partner at SIGMA Threat Management Associates. When confronting students about online posts, they should avoid a zero-tolerance response like automatic suspensions, she said.
“That’s a policy that sounds good but actually has an inadvertent chilling effect on students’ willingness to come forward and share information and share what’s worrying them,” she said.
Kingston, of the University of Colorado Boulder, offered similar advice, noting that school and police officials should respond to perceived student threats with caution.
“Adults who are entrusted with these jobs have to walk this delicate rope of also making sure they’re protecting the safety of everyone,” she said. “We want to make sure that our interventions don’t do more harm to students.”
Since their founding in the 19th Century, Catholic schools have been noted for serving economically disadvantaged and ethnic minority communities. Education choice programs, due to their income-based and geographic eligibility requirements, tend to serve these same populations. Many therefore assume that choice programs send a disproportionate share of participating students to Catholic schools. On the positive side, well-meaning Catholic school leaders may claim this as a badge of honor. However, the perception that financially strapped Catholic schools are “propped up” by public funding could be harmful to the education choice movement.
Catholic Education Partners tested this assumption by retrieving state government, diocesan, Catholic conference, and scholarship organization data for 28 programs across 20 states. These 16 scholarship tax credit and 12 voucher programs accounted for $1.8 billion of the $2.2 billion (81%) allocated for private school choice nationwide and 358,000 of the 466,000 (77%) participating students.
Contrary to conventional wisdom, Catholic schools do not dominate choice programs, but rather enroll students in line with their share of the overall private school market.
Financially, based on average scholarship and voucher amounts in each , Catholic schools would be expected to receive about $587 million in program funding. However, in programs where precise figures were available, scholarships used to enroll in Catholic schools were shown to be about 21 percent less than the program-wide average. This deflator reduces our estimate of program funding to Catholic schools to $538 million.
In part this reflects the fact that voucher programs provide nearly $5,000 more per-pupil on average over tax credit scholarships ($7,331 vs $2,504). Voucher funds account for 65 percent of total Catholic school revenue from choice students, with three large programs (Indiana, Ohio’s statewide, and Milwaukee) accounting for two-thirds of Catholic school voucher revenue.
Putting the overall funding estimate of $538 million in context, if these 113,000 Catholic school students were receiving a scholarship equal to the average per-pupil spending in public schools nationwide ($11,762), spending on them would more than double to about $1.3 billion. By this estimate, Catholic schools are saving governments half the cost of educating a student. In one dramatic example, Maryland spends on average $14,206 per student, but the average Catholic school voucher student only receives $2,519. Of course, some students using voucher programs may have attended private schools even if this subsidy were not available. Even so, the size of the difference suggests that these programs are a discount for state governments.
In studying enrollment numbers, we found that on average Catholic schools enroll program students at the same rate as they enroll students paying out-of-pocket and that choice program students account for less than one quarter of Catholic school students overall.
For instance, in Ohio, 63 percent of choice program students choose a Catholic school. While that seems high, Catholic schools enroll at least 57 percent of private school students in the Buckeye state. Voucher students account for only 24 percent of Catholic school students throughout the state.
Overall, Catholic schools overperform in enrolling voucher students—capturing 50 percent of all participating students while having only 42 percent market share in voucher states. Two standouts are Ohio’s Educational Choice (67 percent of participants vs 57 percent market share) and Indiana’s Choice Scholarship (54 percent of participants vs. 37 percent market share). In tax credit scholarship programs, students choose Catholic schools slightly more than expected, outpacing their market share by 3 percent.
Putting these enrollment numbers in context, no more than 25 percent of students in Catholic schools receive support from a voucher or tax credit scholarship. This figure varies from state to state. On the high end, 85 percent of students in Catholic schools in Arizona receive support from one or more of three available tax credit scholarships (average combined support: $3,335). On the lower end, the 263 students on scholarship at Catholic schools in Kansas represent only 1 percent of Catholic school students statewide.
The bottom line is that, far from propping up systems of Catholic schools, education choice programs work as intended to supplement parents in affording a school of choice. Catholic schools are not receiving a financial windfall from these programs, and choice program parents tend to choose Catholic schools only slightly more often than parents paying out-of-pocket.
The lesson for policymakers is that including Catholic school leaders in designing choice programs is important, as they may serve about a third of all participating students. However, opponents and advocates of choice alike need not fear that a new program will simply become a subsidy to Catholic schools. In fact, it is likely the opposite. Catholic schools and their supporting communities will end up subsidizing the education of participating students, reducing the government’s cost to educate and freeing up resources for school districts.
“We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are,” attributed to Anais Nin. You believe you are the answer. You see what you look for and defend what you see. Seeing: Organizers see chaos and believe organizing is the answer. A plan is an obligation. Mercy-showers see pain and believe in comfort. Teachers […]
The Forgetting Curve: Why hard-working kids don't always test well
In our last two emails, I've outlined a few trends we're seeing with grades and testing. And all indications point to the fact that otherwise smart and hard-working kids just aren't testing as well as they used to.
Additionally, as much as we want things like Test Optional to continue to catch on so that standardized tests are de-emphasized on college applications, we're still left with the fact that test scores are a big part of what get kids in the door.
So what can we do about it?
One problem we see with the students we work with is not how much time they spend preparing (which can be significant), but what they're doing with that study time.
In short: they may be studying hard, but they're forgetting what they study.
This is because of a particular fact about how memory works that most students aren't aware of.
This is what's represented in the Forgetting Curve, and it illustrates how information is lost over time if no effort is made to retrieve it.
If you've ever wondered why back before we had smartphones you could remember the phone number of every one of your close friends and family members... but now have to search through your contact list to make sure you have your parent's phone number right, this is why.
Fortunately, there's a strategy your kids can employ to avoid this issue, and put their study time to better use.
It's called Spaced Repetition, and it helps students remember more by re-introducing the information already learned at an interval that coincides with the Forgetting Curve (just before you're about to forget).
If you're having a hard time remembering something, you may need to review it daily at first.
But then as you get better, that interval increases to every few days... then weekly... then once a month, and so on.
Leadership success centers on bringing out the best in others, even your boss. Most leaders don’t enjoy being told what to do. Use questions rather than directions. But avoid manipulation. 3 strategies to avoid: #1. Don’t mandate: You should… Why don’t you… It would be good for you to… Don’t you think it would be […]
Sue Dickson was first an elementary-school teacher and then a reading advocate. Her long career connects all the dots in this countriy's biggest educational mystery: why so much illiteracy and dyslexia?
Reading time: less than five minutes. Then you'll know!
"K-12: meet Sue Dickson, a hero of American Literacy"
He called it “What Works May Hurt. Side Effects in Education.” He recently published a book explains this paradox. I strongly recommend this book and every other book Zhao has written. He is a truly fresh thinker.
Here is an example. Suppose you discovered a method of teaching reading that is certain to raise test scores but equally certain to make students hate reading. Would you go with this approach?
His lecture is informed, witty, and entertaining.
I hope you will make time to watch this wonderful scholar at his best.