July 13, 2018

Edujob: Manager Of Public Policy @ New York City Charter School Center

Charter schools are arguably the most dynamic part of the education scene in New York City and here’s a great job at a key intermediary supporting them: Manager of Public Policy at the New York City Charter School Center.

The New York City Charter School Center (Charter Center) works to foster a public policy environment that ensures that charter schools can continue to open and succeed for New York City’s school children. We are seeking a full-time Manager of Public Policy who will help the Charter Center influence changes in state and local education policy and contribute to the public’s greater understanding and awareness about the benefits of charter schooling. The Manager will serve as a key member of the Policy & Advocacy team and collaborate with senior leadership and the Communications and PR teams to proactively ensure a vibrant charter sector.   

Read the entire JD and learn how to be considered here.


Friday Fish Pics! Big Fish.

Lina Bankert is a partner on Bellwether’s Strategic Advising team. Her husband, Andy, and son, Cody, like to go fishing and here they are with a great catch from earlier this month. Cody caught it. Up in Michigan, as you can tell.

Fish bigger than kid is always a good look.

Want more pictures of education-connected people with fish? Of course you do, it’s summer and it’s Friday. Click here for hundreds.


July 12, 2018

Human Centered Design And Ed Policy, Pensions, Career Choices, Janus Defenses, More!

Here’s a new tool kit for human centered design in education from Bellwether. More about it from Jason Weeby via AOTH.

Gabrielle Gassmann on how a teacher can think about when to retire relative to their pension system.

Summer camp can be a great growth experience for kids.

Here’s a round up of Janus inoculation laws. Some of this will face trouble in the courts because of the Alito opinion in the case but if you’re a legislator with ties to the unions these are political freebies so look for more bills to come.

High stakes career choosing.

Open-letter on school discipline guidance.

Supreme Court nominee Kavanaugh and education.

Updated school shooting prevention guide from the Secret Service. Some good ideas but given education’s track record on implementation also some things that could go awry…

Marcus King Band.


July 10, 2018

Are Teacher Training Programs Widgets? EduMom, Cerf On Janus, Chicago, LA, And More…

Are teacher training programs interchangeable widgets? Ashley LiBetti and Chad Aldeman go deeper on that question. 

Hailly Korman on gaps in services for adjudicated youth.

Federal judge rules that literacy not a fundamental right.

Chris Cerf on Janus and what’s next.

From Mass, Jonas on Edumom.

This is an interesting analysis, but sort of bad news for political traction for education reform because its a strategy that pays dividends over decades while people vote in the present.

On that note, Mike Petrilli has some ideas where education reform should go.

Diversity struggles at prestigious TJ in Northern VA.

RAND takes a look at reform in LA. And Governing takes a look at Chicago. 

I’m With Her.


July 9, 2018

Pensions, Pride, Fragmented Students, And More From Bellwether. Plus Janus Fallout, Ed Debates, Books Behind Bars, More!

Scroll down for some edujobs.

From Bellwether:

Education fragmentation is a big problem for a lot of students – especially those most at-risk. In a new Bellwether report Hailly Korman and Justin Trinidad look at how technology can help mitigate some of the problems.

Hailly Korman talks with Nick Melvoin about reforms to forced placement in Los Angeles.

Late to these because I’ve been away but here’s Bellwether’s Justin Boratto on being an out teacher and Bellwether’s Jeremy Knight on coming out as a high school student.

One of the most common pension related searches on Google is simply, how do I calculate my pension? Except it’s not simple. Max Marchitello unpacks how it works.

Washington Post checks in with Andrew Kauffman’s “Books Behind Bars” UVA class that teaches with Tolstoy in a Virginia prison. Here’s a trailer from Chris Farina’s new film about the class. Bellwether hosted a screening for the film a few months ago.

Elsewhere:

TEACH Grant problems persist, now it’s DeVos’ fault.  Dale Chu says local collective bargaining agreements are going to temper the Janus impact. Good look at the stakes in the selective high school exam debate in New York City. This story about an Oregon student caught up in anti-violence effort at his school is crazy.

Conservative activists are setting their sights on competency-based education models. Echoes of school to work debate…

Teachers and feedback.

Anti-Janus conservatives will burn in hell says union leader.

This bear knows how to have a good time.


July 3, 2018

Edujob: Director of Professional Learning, The Schusterman Foundation

The Schusterman Foundation is involved in some interesting work around the education sector and they have an opening on their team: Director of Professional Learning.
From the posting:
The Director must have the vision, entrepreneurial spirit, perseverance, and imagination required to determine how the team can provide excellent, customized support to grantees of varying size and maturity. They must ensure that the support provided by Schusterman to this growing and complex portfolio is derived from a senior-level strategic approach to designing professional learning experiences. See the full position description here.

July 2, 2018

Edujobs: Program Director, The Broad Residency

Here’s a great edujob on a great team:  Program Director, The Broad Residency.

From the posting:

The Program Director will be an experienced leader with a background in adult professional development. They will: shine when it comes to managing teams and fostering positive culture; approach program development and facilitation with a design lens and detail orientation, and be able to lead across teams identifying and leveraging synergies. See the full position description here.

June 28, 2018


Janus Roundup And What’s Next? Kennedy Goes, Skandera’s New Idea, Musk’s School, More!

On the Fordham Gadfly podcast I discuss the article Drew Pache and I wrote about school safety and ways to keep schools safe without turning them into forts.

Max Marchitello is going deeper on what might be driving the gender pay gap in Illinois.

Too much Janus coverage to get it all here but this 74 overview is worth your time and a good primer. Yesterday on the blog I offered some reaction as I read through the decision. And here’s a piece in USAT from a conservative group in Michigan that’s worth reading because whether or not you agree with them it forecasts the next round of the fight here: What Janus inoculation measures will pass legal muster? This WSJ article gets into some of the questions that are swirling around. Though some of my colleagues disagree, I’d also keep an eye on pressure around exclusive representation, which is where I think this is headed over time. I’m not sold on the chaos that getting rid of agency fees will cause, the “labor peace” argument, but that argument does seem more of an issue if future cases go further.

Dan Weisberg argues that Janus is a blessing in disguise for the teachers unions. Seems right but I question their ability to capitalize on it given their positioning.

There seems to be some confusion about the money in question in some of the commentary I’ve seen following the case. Teachers’ unions can’t compel non-members to support political work – that was the case prior to Janus. That’s why there was an agency fee structure, that  agency fee money supports other work that the union does on behalf of teachers. Mark Janus’ argument was that even the agency fee didn’t provide relief because everything the union does is political at some level. Essentially the question is how to balance compelling people to support that other union work even if they disagree with it against the free rider problem. The court decided that compelling was the greater constitutional problem. They could have come down more in the middle, but didn’t. This Bellwether deck has a lot of context and background.

Also at the court, Justice Kennedy announced his retirement, as you surely heard. Most immediately in education this heightens the stakes on the affirmative action cases now in the court and assuming President Trump appoints the next justice it seems increasingly likely that race-based affirmative action will be struck down. This case emerging from Harvard seems tailored made for Justice Robert’s views on that issue.

And there has been some talk about trying to get the court to revisit the landmark Rodriguez decision on constitutional rights to education. That seems like an even longer odds play now.

Hanna Skandera has a new ideas project – check it out here and she describes it here in The 74

Elon Musk has a car company, space company, digging company, and now a school.

Guy Davis “Sugar Belly.”


June 27, 2018

Quick Reax On Janus Ruling

I’m reading the Janus ruling and its dissents, here’s a link. You should, too, this is a big moment for our sector and the most significant education case at the Supreme Court in years. Janus prevailed in his argument that even the agency-fee arrangement in a lot of states violates his First Amendment rights. The case was, not too surprisingly, 5-4. This Bellwether deck has background on the case and the issues at stake.

*This post will be updated as I read through it in real time.

  1. The legal arguments Alito makes are pretty straightforward and unsurprising. And the breadcrumbs the court laid out to get this case are pretty clear in the decision. On the objections. I’m unconvinced on the “labor peace” argument – there are states with multiple groups representing teachers now and the sky isn’t falling so it’s hard to see how agency fees are essential to labor peace. But, that doesn’t mean a workforce of atomized teachers is desirable either so this creates a big moment for teacher voice groups and other groups that want to organize and represent teachers in the political and educational process.
  2. There were options for compromise that preserved some agency-fee arrangement gave gave Janus some relief, but the court’s majority didn’t take them – this is a pretty sweeping ruling.
  3. Abood, the precedent the court overturned today was a compromise and the vulnerability that created was laid bare in today’s decision. That’s a compromise that has been attacked from all quarters for various reasons and is a weird First Amendment issue.
  4. In her dissent Kagan argues that Abood works fine today so there is no reason to overturn it. Overall that’s true, it does work in states around the country, but whether or not you agree with Janus, there is some segment of teachers it does not work for. Reasonable people can disagree on the appropriate remedy or if one is needed but there’s a legitimate and complicated issue here in terms of individual rights.
  5. This applies only to public sector unions but don’t declare them dead too fast. This is going to create a big fiscal problem for the teachers’ unions but not a completely insurmountable one and they have various avenues to resist the ruling – the most obvious one just becoming a better organization on behalf of their members than today’s status quo. That’s a huge opportunity they could seize. But there are things they can try – and are trying – in the legislature and elsewhere mute the effects. And it’s entirely possible this will lead them to become more strident rather than less and complicate education politics rather than clarify them in any way. The most strident members are the least likely to bail out now. Conservatives dancing on the unions’ grave today might want to think about that.
  6. This will though, in relatively short time, lay bare the illusion of a powerful 50-state teachers union presence unless they get their organizing act together fast. That will have consequences in a number of states.
  7. Wisconsin is not entirely analogous here because of the multiple changes that were part of that state’s labor reform but it’s not a bad state to look at for some idea on how this might play out.
  8. Pay attention to the language on opt-in versus opt-out, that’s going to be a big deal in practice and make some of the inoculation strategies the teachers unions are pursuing harder. PP 48 of the ruling: Neither an agency fee nor any other pay­ment to the union may be deducted from a nonmember’s wages, nor may any other attempt be made to collect such a payment, unless the employee affirmatively consents to pay. By agreeing to pay, nonmembers are waiving their First Amendment rights, and such a waiver cannot be presumed.” I am hearing from teachers who are getting emails from their unions that were obviously pre-drafted and seem calibrated to the idea that this would be opt-opt. And that was a compromise option the court could have taken (the Bellwether analysis looks at some possible scenarios). This is a more serious problem for the unions.
  9. If I were a Democratic politician (or moderate suburban Republican if there are any left) with a long view I’d be thinking about what this means down the road – majorities of voters want more choice and better schools and a big source of campaign funds and volunteers at odds with parental choice just had its fiscal model disrupted.