Good News About Cheating — Educate Now | Leslie Jacobs says she is “very encouraged” about what The Lens found out about cheating and other problems in standardized testing in New Orleans schools. She writes:
Have there been incidents of cheating in New Orleans schools? Probably yes.
Do we have large-scale cheating on our hands? Definitely not.
Can we trust the gains we have seen in student performance? Absolutely.
The debate about whether we should test, how much we should test, and what we should test will no doubt continue, but it is highly unlikely that the gains New Orleans students have achieved on state tests are due to cheating. There is no evidence of systematic cheating.
The Lens is hosting a live chat at 12:30 p.m. to discuss its story.
Philly teacher has credentials suspended in test-score probe — Philadelphia Public School Notebook | In Philadelphia a fourth educator has been punished for failing to follow proper test administration rules. The story explains:
According to people who are familiar with investigations of test-score irregularities here and elsewhere, including Atlanta, sometimes students are allowed to take make-up tests when they weren’t actually absent on the day of testing. Often the make-up tests are conducted in the library with less-stringent proctoring. Or students can be directed to the make-up room after someone viewed their test booklets in violation of procedure and found that they did not complete one or more sections.
Why Charter Schools Are Tearing Public Campuses Apart – Hot Ideas for a Cold Economy – The Frying Pan | An interesting look at the tensions caused by a California law that requires traditional public schools to share facilities with charters.
“One of the difficult things about having a charter school co-located on a district public school campus is that . . . the two schools end up competing for those things that are necessary to provide a quality education for the students,” says Robin Potash, an elementary school teacher and chair of the United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) Proposition 39 Committee. “That includes competing for the same students.”
The Charter School Vs. Public School Debate Continues — WWNO | NPR looks at a controversial study that aimed to answer the question, “Do kids in charter schools learn more than kids in traditional public schools?”
U.S. Gulf oil profits lure $16 billion more rigs by 2015 — Fuel Fix | “The deep-water Gulf of Mexico, shut down after BP Plc (BP/)’s record oil spill in 2010, has rebounded to become the fastest growing offshore market in the world.” The reasons: Many oil field discoveries, an existing offshore oil industry, and a pickup in permitting.
Dozens of Charities Questioned on Sandy Relief Money — NBC New York | New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office reports that “some 40 percent of about $575 million in donations were unspent as of early April. … Of the 89 organizations it identified as raising funds for Sandy victims or the rebuilding effort, 17 acknowledged that at least some of the money they raised in the storm’s aftermath would be used on charitable endeavors not directly linked to Sandy.”
Solar Power Flourishing In Lower Ninth Ward — WWNO | “The Sierra Club sponsored a study that finds the Lower Ninth Ward is currently issued five times more solar permits per capita than the rest of the city.” Most of them are on older homes that have been renovated since Hurricane Katrina.
Questions of would-be WTC developers are revealing — The Advocate | A committee evaluating three proposals to redevelop the former World Trade Center building has asked followup questions of the bidders. “Many of the questions directed at the Tricentennial Consortium centered on that project’s management, operation and financing.” Such as: a list of everyone in the alliance, who would actually lease the building, and how the project would be funded now that Gov. Bobby Jindal has vetoed a bill that would have financed some of it.
Sheriff Gusman did not tell public about escape from Orleans Parish Prison — NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune | “Shortly after being booked into Orleans Parish Prison last week, an accused domestic abuser escaped by walking out of the prison’s Intake and Processing Center dressed in civilian clothes. However, Sheriff Marlin Gusman’s office never alerted the news media or the public about Reedell Parker’s escape, which happened on July 11.”
When Prisoners Protest – The New York Times | Wilbert Rideau, who served most of his 44-year manslaughter sentence at Angola, comments on inmate protests underway to protest California prison conditions.
I know something about solitary confinement, because I’ve been there. I spent a total of 12 years in various solitary confinement cells. And I can tell you that isolating a human being for years in a barren cell the size of a small bathroom is the cruelest thing you can do to a person.
Deprived of all human contact, you lose your feeling of connectedness to the world. You lose your ability to make small talk, even with the guard who shoves your meal through the slot in the door. You live entirely in your head, for there is nothing else. You talk to yourself, answer yourself. You become paranoid, depressed, sleepless. To ward off madness, you must give your mind something to do. In 1970, I counted the 358 rivets that held my steel cell together, over and over. Every time the walls seemed to be closing in on me, I counted them again, to give my mind something to fasten on to.
Government & Politics
Voter advocacy group, secretary of state differ in interpretation of registration numbers — NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune | A voter advocacy group claims credit for thousands of new registrations among low-income Louisianans. The Secretary of State’s office, however, says that many of those registrations aren’t new.
La. voter registration test is mystery for historians — The Advocate | A Philadelphia historian has posted an “impossible” test “purportedly once given to prospective black voters in Louisiana.” The thing is, no historians here in Louisiana have a copy of this test.
“I suspected that was a hoax,” Andrew Salinas, reference archivist for the Amistad Research Center at Tulane University, said Wednesday.
A former civil rights worker who insists the test was given offered another explanation. Jeff Schwartz said Louisiana might have been reluctant to preserve an embarrassing chapter in its history.