Louisiana education leaders look to improve child literacy

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana’s education leaders are working on plans aimed at improving reading skills for the state’s youngest students, hoping to reverse years of neglect that has stifled education achievement for decades.

The Advocate reports that students from kindergarten through second grade have long been absent from Louisiana’s accountability system. The state’s focus on improving public schools has long centered on third graders and older.

“We have to give K-2 more attention,” state Superintendent of Education Cade Brumley said in an interview.

Thousands of the state’s youngest students are unable to read on grade level, which has devastating consequences as they move from grade to grade.

“This is the foundation of education,” said Tia Mills, president of the Louisiana Association of Educators, one of the state’s two teacher unions. “At that level students are learning to read so they can ultimately read to learn.”

A state report earlier this year said only 43% of kindergarten students were reading on grade level, 54% of first graders, 56% of second graders and 53% of third graders.

The data is even more alarming when noting racial disparities. While 52% of white kindergarten students are reading at or above grade level, only 36% of black students do so, according to figures compiled by the state Department of Education.

Nearly 161,000 public school students are enrolled in the three grades under scrutiny.

Tackling the issue of literacy among K-2 students was the highlight in a series of proposed sweeping changes that Brumley outlined to two groups last week that advise the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. Both groups endorsed the push to address the issue.

Brigitte Nieland, director of government affairs for the advocacy group Stand for Children, called the exclusion of K-2 students from the state’s accountability program “a major gap in the accountability system at completely the wrong place, which is where the emphasis needs to be as far as literacy.”

The difficulties of testing such young children is one reason they have long been missing from yearly snapshots on performance — but day care centers are now subjected to state-issued quality ratings, offering expectations that such assessments are doable.

Under current rules, students are supposed to be tested within the first 30 days of each school year, including specific assessments for students in kindergarten and first through third grades. Brumley is suggesting possible changes in how students are screened for reading abilities, at the start and finish of the school year, and pinpointing student progress over the school year.

John E. Wyble, president and CEO of the nonprofit Center for Development and Learning, said the latest effort dovetails with plans for $2 million in new state aid to improve reading skills.

The money will fund pilot projects in up to 12 school districts, with up to 1,500 teachers receiving professional development from a dozen literacy coaches. Wyble said his group is also working to improve parental help for students at home and expanded training for current classroom

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What Are The Signs And Why Leaders Get Exposed

Performative allyship is becoming the order of the day, with many professing support for marginalized groups. It has become a recurring theme in recent times, with many in leadership positions quick to lend rhetorical support to diversity and inclusion, particularly in the area of race equality.

With the onset of global reactions to the death of George Floyd, leaders who were once reticent in championing racial equality, have found their voices in an attempt to align to racial equity and express solidarity with the cause. Far from being supportive of an anti-racist agenda, performative allyship has a disturbing influence, which stifles progress and has the detrimental effect of suppressing attempts to foster genuinely inclusive workplace environments.

Now the dust is settling, and employees, of all backgrounds have had the chance to consider the key concerns around race equality, or the lack of it, issues around the authenticity of leadership, are taking centre stage.

Performative allyship has become an issue of concern across the race equality agenda, so much so that Black employees have begun to call out surface level activism in the workplace, and across social media. The problem with performative allyship, is that it maintains the status quo and renders illegitimate, any attempts to change processes that support structural racism, and other barriers.

What Is It and What It Looks Like

Allyship is an authentic support system, in which someone from outside a marginalized group advocates for those who are victims of discriminatory behaviour, whether that is at an individual level, or systemically and process driven. With authentic allyship there is an obvious, and genuine attempt, to transfer the benefits of privilege to those who lack it, in order to advocate on the marginalized groups behalf, and support them to achieve change.

Performative allyship, by contrast, is where those with privilege, profess solidarity with a cause. This assumed solidarity is usually vocalized, disingenuous and potentially harmful to marginalized groups. Often, the performative ally professes allegiance in order to distance themselves from potential scrutiny. In many cases, organizational leaders use performance driven activity, in a way that they believe will protect company brand from being highlighted in a negative way. It is often referred to by Black employees and their supporters, as ‘talking the talk, without walking the walk.’

Performative Allyship Damages the Race Equality Agenda

In organizations that have consistently maintained a homogeneous leadership, the power of decision making and development of policy and processes, has largely been the preserve of white people, with little or no input from those of different hues. When performative allyship is enacted at the top of these organizations, employees of different backgrounds stand little chance of ever breaking through systemic barriers that have been designed by those in power.

There are many people across organizations, who do want to support the cause of race equality but may find it difficult, due to the fear of speaking out, and the associated, real

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Austin school leaders press for education spending as tight budget awaits lawmakers – News – Austin American-Statesman

When the coronavirus pandemic abruptly shuttered schools in March, Austin school leaders scrambled to transition learning online but it quickly became clear that thousands of students without access to the internet and a home computer were being left behind.

District leaders dipped into reserves to spend millions of dollars upgrading technology and getting students WiFi access, laptops and other learning devices. Staff prepared and delivered meals to district families to ensure children remained fed while campuses were closed, and the district purchased masks, gloves, face shields and gallons of hand sanitizer for employees.

The scene played out in school systems across Texas.

As the unexpected costs piled up, the boost in public education funding approved by the Legislature last year proved to be a lifeline. But, as lawmakers prepare to write a new two-year budget amid cost-cutting pressures, school district officials in Austin worry that the hard-fought funding gains will be fleeting.

The 2021 legislative session, set to open on Jan. 12, will be focused on issues new and old: policing, health care access, Gov. Greg Abbott’s pandemic response, abortion, medical marijuana and criminal justice reform, among others.

Austin school officials will be pushing for a continued focus on education, with coronavirus-related challenges expected to last at least through this school year, even with a vaccine on the horizon. Among their priorities:

– Maintain school spending levels set by House Bill 3, which infused an additional $6.5 billion into public education during the current two-year budget.

– Guarantee broadband access to Texas families.

– Pass along to districts the federal funding earmarked for coronavirus pandemic relief.

“COVID was a big part of it,” said Arati Singh, an Austin school board member who served on the district’s legislative committee to create its priority list. “Funding has always been a huge priority for us. It’s pretty much always been our top priority given that we pay so much into recapture. But this year made it more salient for us because our school district has had to pay about $46 million in additional expenses related to COVID. It very well could be more than that.”

Sustained funding

Worried about the future of school funding, education advocates point to 2011 cuts as a cautionary tale.

In 2006, the Legislature cut property taxes for homeowners and used new business taxes to boost funding for schools, providing teachers, counselors and nurses with raises and boosting prekindergarten. But after the state’s economy was hit by the Great Recession, the Legislature reduced public education funding by a whooping $5.4 billion. HB 3 restored funding to levels seen before 2011.

“The first and foremost issue right now is going to be what did COVID-19 do to state revenue, what is it going to do to the state budget and does that trickle down to public schools in the form of some sort of reduction similar to what happened in 2011,” said Bob Popinski, policy director with Raise Your Hand Texas, an education policy group.

HB 3 restricted the growth

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With unprecedented numbers of failing grades, reports of student anxiety, Sonoma County education leaders call emergency summit

Facing a steep spike in students with failing grades as well as emerging evidence of pervasive mental health woes among area teens, education leaders in Sonoma County have scheduled an unprecedented emergency summit to address what they are describing as a looming crisis.

High school students are failing classes at rates never before seen in Sonoma County — in some cases double the number recorded in the first six weeks of school last year, superintendents of secondary districts are reporting.

As educators begin a search for solutions to the surge of low grades, they are also grappling with the troubling results from a national survey of student mental health. Sonoma County students, unlike the majority of their peers elsewhere in the state and nation, are reporting feeling deep anxiety over their futures.

More than 7 out of 10 of the more than 4,500 high school students in Sonoma County who participated in a national survey in May reported that “feeling anxious about the future” was the No. 1 barrier to distance learning. By comparison, “distractions at home” was the chief obstacle to distance learning listed by the more than 20,000 students from nine states who participated in the survey by YouthTruth, a nonprofit organization formed as part of the Center for Effective Philanthropy.

“When we heard the YouthTruth (results) that 71% have a fear of the future, that is when it hit home: We are different. It is now being verified,” Santa Rosa City Schools Superintendent Diann Kitamura said. “We are an outlier. … That is corroborating that our kids and our teachers have been through hell and back, and we aren’t back yet.”

Wildfires that have canceled class and wreaked havoc every year since 2017, along with power shut-offs, a flood in the west county and now a global pandemic, have led to compounded trauma for Sonoma County students who are now showing signs of mental health struggles, educators said.

With the county unable yet to effectively reduce coronavirus cases and transmission rates that are among the worst in California, Sonoma County public schools have been barred from resuming in-person classes on campuses since mid-March. A private school in Sonoma, The Presentation School, reopened last week and two others, Sonoma Country Day and The Healdsburg School, won approval to resume classes the first week of November. But approximately 68,000 transitional kindergarten-through-12th-grade students have not been inside a classroom or face to face with their teachers in more than six months.

“We have to do something now. This needs to stop,” Healdsburg Unified School District Superintendent Chris Vanden Heuvel said.

“We have friends in other parts of the state, and not to say that their kids aren’t struggling, but it does appear to me that we have got more complex mental health issues and anxieties that we are seeing in our kids right now that is different than in other places,” he said. “You look at seniors and what those kids have gone through for four years — fire after

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Lessons To Tech Leaders And Insights From Forbes CIO Newsletter Subscribers Amid Digital Transformations

One overarching problem amid this election season in the U.S and pandemic: uncertainty. Major hurdles remain for another stimulus package, retailers and other companies are adjusting their approaches, and there are speculations on impacts for taxes, investments, and retirements in the next 60 days. There is certainty about the worries for data security as tech leaders were discussing how to protect their businesses through AI at the most recent Forbes CIO Summit Virtual Series. However, advances of 5G (now with iPhones) is emerging an environment that will reward bold companies that are willing to try new architectures and new techniques. 

In this special edition I took a look at recent events around leadership lessons from tech leaders amid accelerations in digital transformations, upcoming events shaping strategies of tech leaders, what is top of mind for Forbes CIO newsletter subscribers, discovering new fintech billionaires and how to plan virtual strategic retreats for those harnessing cutting-edge technologies and making crucial strategic bets on the computing everywhere revolution.

Forbes Connect2020 Forbes CIO Next Virtual Series – Episode 1 – Forbes Connect

What Forbes CIO Newsletter Subscribers Are Reading

The following is a collection of articles read most by Forbes CIO newsletter subscribers this month.

An impactful career legacy is formed because you intentionally create uplifting and impactful experiences for others. Have you been as intentional about your legacy as you’ve been about your career, or are you so busy building and working a career that you haven’t considered the lasting legacy that you actually want attached to it? 

MORE FROM FORBESThe Pandemic Plutocrats: How Covid Is Creating New Fintech Billionaires

Gary Hoberman wants to reinvent the way that companies create software applications. The former CIO of giant insurer MetLife
is building a software startup that’s just achieved unicorn status.

Oracle wants Google to pay it $9 billion in compensation for using application programming interfaces (APIs) from its Java programming language without permission. If the U.S. Supreme Court rules in Oracle’s
favor, CIOs and their developers could end up having to pay for all kinds of APIs that they are currently using for free.

Leadership is about securing followers and more importantly maximizing the collaborative strength of collective intelligence. To get AI right, CEOs & Board Directors need to learn more & leverage proven adult learning methods to crack the Big Data Gaps and low success rates of sustaining applied AI.

There are 350% more businesses engaged in the design, manufacturing, and sales of wearable exoskeletons for workers performing various physical activities over the past half-decade. 

A McKinsey report has noted that, “The amount of data in our world has been exploding. Leaders in every sector will have to grapple with the implications of big data, not just a few data-oriented managers. The increasing volume and detail of information captured by enterprises, the rise of multimedia, social

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Aurora Institute Calls on State Leaders to Dismantle K-12 Education as We Know It and Commit to a Learner Promise to Ensure Equity for All

Aurora Institute Calls on State Leaders to Dismantle K-12 Education as We Know It and Commit to a Learner Promise to Ensure Equity for All

PR Newswire

WASHINGTON, Oct. 22, 2020

WASHINGTON, Oct. 22, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — The Aurora Institute (@Aurora_Inst) today released A Promise for Equitable Futures: Enabling Systems Change to Scale Educational and Economic Mobility Pathways, a book that calls for the systematic dismantling of the traditional time- and place-bound structures that mark our current K-12 education system. 

Visit the iNACOL website: https://aurora-institute.org/ (PRNewsfoto/iNACOL)
Visit the iNACOL website: https://aurora-institute.org/ (PRNewsfoto/iNACOL)

In its place, states would build systems of governance, policy, and infrastructure to certify that learners who demonstrate competencies in K-12, postsecondary, workforce, and community settings will have access to continuing education and a purposeful, living-wage career. 

The book urges states to establish a “Learner Promise,” a commitment that every learner will have access and support to pursue a certified pathway with system-wide opportunities that guarantee entry into a meaningful, chosen career that will build social and economic capital over the course of their lives. In addition, states would commit to taking the systemic action to specifically disrupt inequities in access, engagement, and attainment for Black, Latinx, Indigenous people, and people from low-income households. 

Moreover, states would let go of the notion that education should be a linear, time-bound sequence of learning that occurs within institutions of formal education. Rather, K-12 education can be reimagined as a “learning ecosystem.” A more aligned, coherent ecosystem would be an equitable, dynamic, and responsive system in which learners can customize their learning experiences. 

“As a nation, we have been taught to believe in a story that goes like this: success in college is the way to a good job. Success in high school is the way to a good college, and schools are equalizers where motivated, capable youth can achieve mobility along a certain and certified path,” said author Katherine Casey. “The problem with this story is that it is not true.”

Co-author Susan Patrick, President and CEO of the Aurora Institute, asks, “”How can we scale innovations with supportive policies and practices? A Promise for Equitable Futures is a call to action for states with policy recommendations to create aligned, coherent competency-based education and workforce development systems throughout K-12 education, postsecondary, and the workforce. It challenges policy leaders to fundamentally rethink the structure and design of education systems and makes a collective call to develop new equity-driven ecosystems for lifelong learning in the United States.”

The siloed, factory-model of today’s education system was designed more than 100 years ago to send some young people to college, send some to the trades, and to assimilate the rest into a dominant culture. Today, the evolving realities of work and learning demand that all learners receive some postsecondary education. It’s also clear that a four-year degree is not the sole pathway to social and economic mobility. The incredible costs of increasing inequality on our world make the inequitable outcomes of

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Yes On Prop 24 Campaign Announces Endorsements From Nurses, Firefighters, And Education Leaders

Yes On Prop 24 Campaign Announces Endorsements From Nurses, Firefighters, And Education Leaders

PR Newswire

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Oct. 21, 2020

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Oct. 21, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Today, the Yes on Prop 24 campaign announced important endorsements from the United Nurses Associations of California (UNAC), California Professional Firefighters, immediate past President of the California Teachers Association (CTA), Eric Heins, past President of CTA, Dean Vogel, and immediate past President of the California Federation of Teachers (CFT), Joshua Pechthalt.

Yes on Privacy, Yes on Prop 24 (PRNewsfoto/Californians for Consumer Priva)
Yes on Privacy, Yes on Prop 24 (PRNewsfoto/Californians for Consumer Priva)

“With our students spending the majority of their instructional time online, it’s our job to protect their safety — just like we do when they are in a classroom,” said Eric Heins, immediate past President of CTA. “Proposition 24 will expand the security for our kids and triple the fines against those who would do them harm.  As a career educator it is my responsibility to always keep our focus on the students.  Please join me in voting Yes on 24.”

Other prominent school leaders and endorsers include:
Dianna MacDonald – Past President, California Parent Teacher Association
Hon. Ann Crosbie – Trustee – Fremont Unified School District and Chair of the California Democratic Party Children’s Caucus
Hon. Larry Allen – Trustee – Middletown School District
Hon. Tim Sbranti – Trustee – Chabot-Las Positas Community College District
Hon. Greg Bonaccorsi – Trustee – Ohlone Community College District
Hon. Melanie Blake – Trustee – Sonoma Valley Unified School District
Hon. Jonathan Abboud – Trustee – Santa Barbara Community College District
Hon. Valerie Amezcua – Trustee, Santa Ana Unified School District
Hon. Laura Capps – President, Santa Barbara Unified School District
Hon. Megan Kerr– Trustee Long Beach Unified School District
Hon. Kathy Rawlings– Trustee Carlsbad Unified School District

Proposition 24 would:

  1. Protect your most personal information, by allowing you to prevent businesses from using or sharing sensitive information about your health, finances, race, ethnicity, and precise location;

  2. Safeguard young people, TRIPLING FINES for violations involving children’s information;

  3. Put new limits on companies’ collection and use of our personal information;

  4. Establish an enforcement arm—the California Privacy Protection Agency—to defend these rights and hold companies accountable, and extend enforcement including IMPOSING PENALTIES FOR NEGLIGENCE resulting in theft of consumers’ emails and passwords;

  5. MAKE IT MUCH HARDER TO WEAKEN PRIVACY in California in the future, by preventing special interests and politicians from undermining Californians’ privacy rights, while allowing the Legislature to amend the law to further the primary goal of strengthening consumer privacy to better protect you and your children, such as opt-in for use of data, further protections for uniquely vulnerable minors, and greater power for individuals to hold violators accountable.


Paid for by Yes on 24, Californians for Consumer Privacy

Committee major funding from Alastair Mactaggart



View original content to download multimedia:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/yes-on-prop-24-campaign-announces-endorsements-from-nurses-firefighters-and-education-leaders-301157486.html

SOURCE Californians for Consumer Privacy

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Education Thought Leaders Introduce a New Model of Teacher Development and Evaluation

Bloomington, Ind., Oct. 20, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — In Improving Teacher Development and Evaluation—published by Marzano Resources—authors Robert J. Marzano, Cameron L. Rains and Philip Warrick with Julia L. Simms introduce a paradigm-shifting approach to supporting teacher growth and evaluating performance. 

Written for teachers, coaches and educational leaders, the book is separated into two parts: improving teacher development and improving teacher evaluation. 

  • In part II, readers will find a discussion of the inherent problems with classroom observations, along with a concrete way to solve such problems. This section also includes specific steps about how to generate reliable and valid teacher evaluation scores and how to use them in a manner that improves the teaching workforce.

When speaking to the need for a new model of teacher improvement and evaluation, the authors explained, “Teachers and other professionals can only develop expertise over a substantial period of time, but time alone is insufficient—expertise requires effective practice. This focused effort is often missing in education.” 

John and Sheila Eller, authors and education consultants, offered high praise for the book, stating, “At last, a comprehensive and practical guide to leverage the teacher appraisal process and impact professional growth … This is a must-read for anyone charged with supporting teachers on their professional growth journeys.” 

Improving Teacher Development and Evaluation is available to order at MarzanoResources.com. 


About the Authors 
Robert J. Marzano, PhD, is cofounder and chief academic officer of Marzano Resources in Denver, Colorado. During his 50 years in the field of education, he has worked with educators as a speaker and trainer and has authored more than 50 books and 200 articles on topics such as instruction, assessment, writing and implementing standards, cognition, effective leadership and school intervention. 

Philip B. Warrick, EdD, is an author and consultant and has worked globally in the areas of school leadership, instruction, collaborative practices and grading. In 2010, Dr. Warrick was invited to participate in the Texas Principals’ Visioning Institute, where he worked with other principals to develop model practices for Texas schools. He also previously served as a regional president for the Nebraska Council of School Administrators (NCSA).

Cameron L. Rains, EdD, is the director of school improvement for Solution Tree, where he works with schools, districts and state education agencies to ensure that all students are learning at high levels. Dr. Rains delivers professional development on a wide range of topics across the US, and he serves as lead on the High Reliability Teacher model. 

About Marzano Resources
Marzano Resources is dedicated to helping K–12 educators advance student achievement. Built on the foundation of Dr. Robert J. Marzano’s 50 years of education research, Marzano Resources supports teachers and administrators through customizable on-site professional development, educator events, virtual coaching, books, videos and online courses. Marzano Resources’s associates and authors are thought leaders in the field of education and deliver research-backed guidance for all major areas of schooling, including curriculum development, instruction, assessment, student engagement and personalized competency-based education.

CONTACT: Solution Tree Erica 
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Education policy leaders from state Senate, House reflect on Epic Charter Schools audit findings | News

Outgoing Sen. Gary Stanislawski, R-Tulsa, longtime chairman of the Senate Education Committee and author of most of the legislation that has allowed Epic to operate and expand, said he doesn’t believe there are any policy implications raised by the forensic audit findings.

“I have read the report and the State Auditor has not convinced me that additional legislation is warranted at this time. With the passage of (House Bill) 1395 there will be much more transparency concerning virtual charter schools. The audit did exactly what it was intended to do, find areas of weakness and allow the school to correct the deficiencies.”

The author of HB 1395, which took effect last year, said she questions whether specific concerns about Epic can be addressed by added transparency and accountability measures because she was dismayed to learn from the state audit report that Epic apparently didn’t comply with the new requirements set forth in that legislation.

Under HB 1395, charter school management organizations must now provide itemized, not estimated, expenditure information to ensure schools can account more fully for their use of taxpayer dollars. The state audit found that Epic Charter Schools did not provide an accurate accounting of actual costs for its for-profit charter school management company, Epic Youth Services.

“I am very disappointed that Epic Youth Services submitted estimates of expenditures after the coding requirements of HB1395 became law. But equally disappointing, is the fact that the State Department of Education accepted the estimates,” said HB 1395 author Sheila Dills, R-Tulsa. “According to the law relating to the Oklahoma Cost Accounting System, schools are required to submit actual costs not estimates.”

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Education policy leaders from state Senate, House reflect on Epic Charter Schools audit findings | Education

Sen. Joe Newhouse, R-Tulsa, and vice chair of the Senate education committee, had only tackled the audit’s executive summary so far but said he would be making time to study the full report in-depth.

“Rep. Sheila Dills (R-Tulsa) and I and many others have been on board from the beginning in promoting greater transparency for virtual charter schools. This report is only going to trigger greater response from the Legislature,” he said. “Some areas have been identified and we are going to make sure we tighten those screws.”

Newhouse said he champions school choice options for parents, including virtual charter schools, and has rooted for Epic to succeed, so “I think it’s a tragedy that the report found so many glaring mistakes and shortfalls.”

“When this organization was found to be owing the state roughly $9 million, not to mention it identified several shortcomings my constituents are very concerned about, it’s quite the dilemma because this charter school offers such a tremendous service in the pandemic,” Newhouse said. “I am hoping Epic can address these and put confidence back into their system. We are asking them to do right by the taxpayer and right by the families and teachers and students.”

Since the World asked lawmakers for their take on the state audit report, we also asked for their take on Epic’s response that State Auditor Cindy Byrd must be anti-charter school or anti-parent school choice.

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