Headlines

Weekend Reads: Why Chicago parents are on a hunger strike to get their school revamped

School closures, past and present

  • A group of Chicago parents are nearly two weeks into a hunger strike to get the city to revamp their scheduled-to-be-closed school. (DNAinfo)
  • A mother explains the personal history with school closure that led her to join the strike. (Catalyst)
  • And a researcher studying the school’s neighborhood who previously worked in a school that closed shares her perspective. (Seven Scribes)
  • A meditation on the closure of Jamaica High School in New York City and the history, policy, and poverty that got us there. (New Yorker)
  • Here’s what protest against the plan to close Jamaica looked like in 2009. (Chalkbeat)
  • An advocate for overhauling struggling schools says his allies would do well to acknowledge why communities oppose closure. (Justin Cohen)

Ten years after Katrina

  • This week was the 10-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, the storm that led to a radical restructuring of schools in New Orleans.
  • A suite of stories recalls the storm’s impact on New Orleans schools, from the explosion of choice to the disappearance of black woman teachers and beyond. (Education Week)
  • While outsiders masterminded much of what unfolded in New Orleans, local educators and advocates played a crucial role. (Andrew Rotherham)
  • A journalist who covered the changes in New Orleans recalls moments when she could see the winners and losers clearly. (Schooled)
  • An advocate who helped create many of the city’s new schools says the overhaul’s benefits to local students are clear but the idea of replicating it elsewhere is not. (Relinquishment)
  • Preschool hasn’t seen needed changes since the storm, according to an early education advocate. (Ahead of the Heard)
  • Here’s a roundup of the best reporting on the storm’s education impact from across the country. (L.A. Times)

What Americans really think about testing

  • Two polls out this week find that Americans either really support testing or really don’t. (NPR)
  • The poll commissioned by a publication that supports testing and accountability policies found wide support. (Education Next)
  • The poll commissioned by a large association of educators, who tend to be wary of testing, found the opposite. (Phi Delta Kappan)
  • Why the disparate findings? One analyst says it’s all in the questions. (Education Post)
  • Here’s what the polls said about other education issues, including the Common Core and charter schools. (The Atlantic)

Back to school

  • Know any ninth-graders feeling jitters about starting high school? Some older-by-a-year girls have advice for them. (Rookie)
  • “It’s not because of the kids,” says a New York City teacher who’s not returning to the classroom after six years. “It’s just everything else.” (Yo Mista!)
  • Come along for a ride as Tennessee educators start their school year by visiting students at home, a practice that can have long-lasting effects on parent involvement. (NPR)
  • An Iowa school district welcomed educators back to class with an education jargon-rich parody of “One Day More” from Les Miz. (WGN)

In other interesting news

  • A new study found that paying parents to help their children with homework produced few academic results. (BloombergView)
  • Rupert Murdoch wants to unload Amplify, the once-hyped ed tech company that former New York City schools chief Joel Klein started. Here are two looks at what went wrong. (BuzzfeedEdWeek)
  • A tiny, mighty Christian lobbying group has successfully blocked states from even minor oversight of homeschooling. (ProPublica)
  • That teacher shortage that doesn’t exist in New York City? It probably doesn’t exist in Indiana, either. (Chalkbeat)
  • In Boston, more homeschoolers are secular, educated, and aiming to insulate their children from school’s dulling effects. (Boston Magazine)
  • How many more children are living in poverty than there were a decade ago? A lot, and this map shows where they are. (Huffington Post)
  • An educator of color pushes back against the call to ally the Black Lives Matter movement with public education protest. (Jose Vilson)
  • A New York City teacher reflects on losing a former student whose death came after a police encounter. (The Atlantic)
  • Two Massachusetts fourth-graders pulled a Chalkbeat and achieved impact with their article on sex-segregated lunchtime. (Good Morning America)
  • The 2012 Chicago teachers strike had many ripple effects. The latest one is an erotic novel. (Teaching Now)

Weekend Reads

Need classroom decor inspiration? These educators have got you covered.

This school year, students will spend about 1,000 hours in school —making their classrooms a huge part of their learning experience.

We’re recognizing educators who’ve poured on the pizazz to make students feel welcome. From a 9th-grade “forensics lab” decked out in caution tape to a classroom stage complete with lights to get first graders pumped about public speaking, these crafty teachers have gone above and beyond to create great spaces.

Got a classroom of your own to show off? Know someone that should be on this list? Let us know!

Jaclyn Flores, First Grade Dual Language, Rochester, New York
“Having a classroom that is bright, cheerful, organized and inviting allows my students to feel pride in their classroom as well as feel welcome. My students look forward to standing on the stage to share or sitting on special chairs to dive into their learning. This space is a safe place for my students and we take pride in what it has become.”

Jasmine, Pre-K, Las Vegas, Nevada
“My classroom environment helps my students because providing calming colors and a home-like space makes them feel more comfortable in the classroom and ready to learn as first-time students!”

 

Oneika Osborne, 10th Grade Reading, Miami Southridge Senior High School, Miami, Florida
“My classroom environment invites all of my students to constantly be in a state of celebration and self-empowerment at all points of the learning process. With inspirational quotes, culturally relevant images, and an explosion of color, my classroom sets the tone for the day every single day as soon as we walk in. It is one of optimism, power, and of course glitter.”

Kristen Poindexter, Kindergarten, Spring Mill Elementary School, Indianapolis, Indiana
“I try very hard to make my classroom a place where memorable experiences happen. I use songs, finger plays, movement, and interactive activities to help cement concepts in their minds. It makes my teacher heart so happy when past students walk by my classroom and start their sentence with, “Remember when we…?”. We recently transformed our classroom into a Mad Science Lab where we investigated more about our 5 Senses.”

 

Brittany, 9th Grade Biology, Dallas, Texas
“I love my classroom environment because I teach Biology, it’s easy to relate every topic back to Forensics and real-life investigations! Mystery always gets the students going!”

 

Ms. Heaton, First Grade, Westampton, New Jersey
“As an educator, it is my goal to create a classroom environment that is positive and welcoming for students. I wanted to create a learning environment where students feel comfortable and in return stimulates student learning. A classroom is a second home for students so I wanted to ensure that the space was bright, friendly, and organized for the students to be able to use each and every day.”

D’Essence Grant, 8th Grade ELA, KIPP Houston, Houston, Texas
“Intentionally decorating my classroom was my first act of showing my students I care about them. I pride myself on building relationships with my students and them knowing I care about them inside and outside of the classroom. Taking the time to make the classroom meaningful and creative as well building a safe place for our community helps establish an effective classroom setting.”

 

Jayme Wiertzema, Elementary Art, Worthington, Minnesota
“I’m looking forward to having a CLASSROOM this year. The past two years I have taught from a cart and this year my amazing school district allowed me to have a classroom in our school that is busting at the seams! I’m so excited to use my classroom environment to inspire creativity in my students, get to know them and learn from their amazing imaginations in art class!”

 

Melissa Vecchio, 4th Grade, Queens, New York
“Since so much of a student’s time is spent inside their classroom, the environment should be neat, organized, easy to move around in but most of all positive. I love to use a theme to reinforce great behavior. I always give the students a choice in helping to design bulletin boards and desk arrangements. When they are involved they take pride in the classroom, and enjoy being there.”

reading list

Weekend Reads: ‘Love and love hard,’ a KIPP Tulsa teacher tells us all

PHOTO: Caroline Bauman
  • New Haven’s schools chief has fallen out of favor after seven years there, and now he’s looking to leave. (N.H. Independent)
  • The KIPP charter network urged its schools to act after Terence Crutcher, a KIPP dad, was killed by police in Tulsa. (Chalkbeat)
  • What that action looked like at KIPP Tulsa College Prep, where at least 10 students are related to Crutcher. (Tulsa World)
  • A teacher at the school went viral after sharing her experiences talking to students — and her advice to “love and love hard.” (Facebook)
  • Great teachers are experts at having hard conversations. Here’s their advice to America. (Chalkbeat)
  • One of Nevada’s wealthiest women is also the state’s glamorous board of education president. (Pacific Standard)
  • Two seasoned education policy wonks are leading Donald Trump’s education transition planning. (Politics K-12)
  • Why is Tennessee’s first single-sex charter school thriving? Not for the reason you might think. (The Atlantic)
  • Efforts are underway to improve black students’ experience at a diverse school where they still come out behind. (Bloomberg)