Ed Trends

Ed Trends is a portal where we filter and feature current resources, articles, books, videos, websites that you might want to review or bookmark. Our goal is to enlighten, engage and engender dialogue or provocative discussion for your leadership team.

Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence Comes to the Hudson Valley

Marc Bracket, Ph.D., Director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and the Putnam/Northern Westchester BOCES in Yorktown Heights, have partnered to bring this critically important work to educators in the Lower Hudson Valley. Training will begin June, 2017. Please click here for a special invitation to find out more about the program.

“Now is the time for our tears” contact your senators, our presidential candidates and Obama to bail out Detroit’s schools!

Dear Jane,

Just more than a week ago, I visited Detroit’s schools. What I saw there was shocking and heartbreaking. Under Detroit’s emergency manager, school funding has gone from bad to worse, educators and students have been treated shamefully and the schools have been left to rot. Literally.

Black mold in classrooms. Gym floors buckling. Mushrooms growing inside buildings. And that’s just the beginning.

Sign the Detroit Federation of Teachers’ petition demanding that the politicians in Lansing clean up this mess and provide full and fair funding for Detroit’s schools.

While the schools are crumbling around them, educators and staff work every day to give Detroit’s kids a fair chance.

But these working people have also been abandoned. After taking a pay cut years ago to help balance the budget, they’ve now gone 10 years without even a cost-of-living pay raise. Combined with repeated benefit cuts, many dedicated educators can barely afford to continue their work.

Our local union, the Detroit Federation of Teachers, is fighting for the schools kids deserve and the respect educators have earned. Until now, their pleas have been ignored.

The first step is making the schools clean and safe, and fully funding these schools.

In unity,

Randi Weingarten
AFT President

What little-known quality do all great leaders share?

World Economic Forum – December 18, 2015 – read article

The Downside for EVERY child of the pressure to achieve. Parents,Teachers, Principals, Boards of Ed-Let’s turn down the volume and lessen the load.  

“In place of race for credentials. . . cultivate deep learning, integrity, purpose and personal connection.”

Is the Drive for Success Making Our Children Sick?
Across the country, children are experiencing depression, anxiety and even physical strain because of the pressures of school.

New York Times Opinion, January 2, 2016 – read article

Learning Social Emotional Intelligence Is More Important than Ever

“The ability to get along with others is really the glue of healthy human development.” New York Times, November 15, 2015 – read article  

Arne Duncan to Step Down as Ed. Sec., John King to Head Up Department

Education Week, October 2, 2015 – read article

Grant Wiggins presents a caring, thorough and research-based argument on why Gov Cuomo’s new APPR plan cannot work

He says using one test (without transparency) and one observation is like evaluating the Yankees competence based on observing one game in a season and without the players ever seeing a video of the game or getting any feedback on their performance. Read blog post

Education Inequality is America’s Original Sin

New York Times Op-Ed Columnist Beyond Education Wars “K-12 education is an exhausted, blood-soaked battlefield. Let’s shift some of the reformist passions to early childhood.” Nicholas Kristof suggests we refocus Ed Reform and make early childhood education a priority. Best way to create a better America and better future for all of our children.     emotionrevolution

The Emotion Revolution

Take the Survey Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence Emotion Revolution, a joint initiative between the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and Born This Way Foundation to build awareness around the critical role of emotions in learning, decision-making, and both student and educator wellness and effectiveness. The goal is to drive the national conversation that charges schools with increasing their focus on building positive school climates and integrating social and emotional learning (SEL) to improve young people’s prospects for leading happy, healthy, and productive lives. Before we can start the conversation, we need to listen. That’s why an anonymous online survey was launched that will ask high school students from around the country to take ten minutes and share how they currently feel in school, how they want to feel, and what they believe needs to happen to bridge the gap between the two. The survey was reviewed and approved by Yale University’s Human Subjects Committee. Results from the survey will form the foundation of the Emotion Revolution Summit. Hosted at Yale this fall, the summit will feature youth participants, Yale President Peter Salovey, and Lady Gaga. The summit will serve as a platform to both unveil the findings and offer youth the opportunity to share their ideas for creating improved learning environments with key educators, academics, and policy makers. Also, with support from Facebook and key partners, they will begin to provide youth and educators with the resources they need to accelerate positive changes in their schools. The need for an Emotion Revolution has never been greater. Far too many young people today are feeling overwhelmed, isolated, and bored. For the first time, high school-age youth are feeling more stressed than adults. Left unchecked, such emotions can impair mental and physical health, interfere with learning, and hinder prospects for future success. The Emotion Revolution is dedicated to helping to reverse these trends.

Parents, Teachers, School Administrators Know Best

Editorial:  New York leaders misread opt-out message The Journal News Let reason prevail. The April 17, 2015 Journal News editorial, “New York leaders misread opt-out message,” presents a good regional and national perspective on Common Core, testing and teacher evaluation. NYSED, Board of Regents, Arne Duncan, President Obama, school boards, presidential candidates, legislators and Governors should:

  • Value and trust parents, teachers and administrators.
  • Look at the opt-out data (from 20 – 40% in many of the Lower Hudson Region of New York according to the Journal News article); it is significant and a game changer. If state and Washington education departments, governors and legislators are making decisions based on data, than they should realize the significance of the high numbers of parents who object to the weight given to standardized testing and its negative impact on their children and teachers. We are told that we must make critical decisions about deploying precious fiscal and human resources based on data. The story the data tells is clear.
  • Change course now.

It will not benefit any let alone all students to pursue a failed reform movement. Current research points to the importance of recruiting, retaining and training, highly qualified teachers and administrators as well as aligning certification programs and professional development to the real world skills educators need to ensure that their students will be college and career ready. This pedagogy for the 21st century involves educating the whole child; it involves understanding the challenges of technology and the emotional complexity of growing up in today’s uncertain and rapidly changing world. This does not mean spending precious days, weeks and dollars on test prep. Moreover, controversy abounds not only about the validity and reliability of the tests, but also about the curriculum on which these tests are based. Is it a curriculum for today and tomorrow or for yesterday?

  • Collect data on what educators think is best in Common Core and what else constitutes curriculum.
  • Improve teacher and administrative certification programs to better align with 21st century research on how kids learn.
  • Co-create with all players a teacher evaluation system that creates a true 360 model.

And stop wasting time and creating a highly stressed generation of children aged 9 – 14 who hate school.

Want Reform? Principals Matter, Too

New York Times OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR Read Wallace Foundation Research on importance of training school leaders.

A Peace Curriculum

Girls & Boys Speak Out Bushra Qadim Hyder What to do in Time of War?  Teach Peace. A Pakistani teacher helps students deal with their fears in one of the most dangerous places in the world. Children have fears everywhere and being specific about how we can all advocate for peace and thus reduce our fear by taking action makes sense. I am moved and inspired by the author.

Grading Teachers by the Test

New York Times Eduardo Porter, ECONOMIC SCENE, March 24, 2015 Grading Teachers by the Test The Business Section of The New York Times, specifically in space given to stories about the economy, is reporting on what various states are doing and what several studies conclude about the value of using student test data to evaluate teacher performance. As parents increasingly “opt-out” their children from taking these tests and as concerns increase from parents and educators about how test makers are monitoring students’ social media sites, the advantages and problems of tying these scores to teacher evaluation is a hotly debated topic in the larger political and economic arena. Schooling is a multi-billion dollar industry and everyone wants a piece of the action. Applying a corporate bottom line to teaching and learning is a bad idea. As Iditarod winner Susan Butcher proclaimed, teaching her dogs to be winners, to persevere, to work as a team, to learn and be winners started at birth and depended on how they were treated and trained and cared for each and every day over years. One has to take a very long view to produce a champion she proclaimed. Ask any pro athlete and she’ll tell you the same thing.

“Some things they do will be good, in line with the objectives. Others will amount to cheating or gaming the system.” – Jonah Rockoff, Columbia University


“A performance metric is only useful as a performance metric as long as it isn’t used as a performance metric.” – Luis Garicarno, London School of Economics

Issues abound: how kids and teachers are “sorted;” who takes the test, gets extra resources and who doesn’t and who decides; drill and kill or teaching to the test; the value-added of the tests; how valid and how reliable are these tests anyway; factors outside of the teacher such as children living in poverty, resources of the school district and more. Many teachers do not want to teach either Special Education students or top students for the same reason: hard to get scores up at both ends of the student spectrum. Ultimately this testing madness is not serving the important purposes which would make tests worthwhile: giving teachers information about students that will further the teacher’s ability to pinpoint the areas where a student needs extra support; where a curriculum needs improving; or where the teacher needs to improve in either content knowledge, pedagogy or both. Professor Rockoff goes on to say, “. . . do not put too much weight on any single measure.” I don’t think we need in depth university research and studies to come to the conclusion that any one moment in time, any one test, any one event can tell us all we need to know about the many factors that make up excellent pedagogy that results in student learning. Let reason prevail and redirect the high high costs of test making, test administration, and scoring analysis, into improving teacher training, teacher quality and increasing resources directly to the primacy of what goes on in a classroom each and every day. A parent was outraged by his school telling parents that test results would not be back for one year. “What a waste is that?” Indeed.

Interesting and troubling national data on testing from ASCD

Time, costs, value, just to name a few concerns. Please review and let us know what you think and should be done. ASCD Policy Points

Flipped Leadership

Why use a ‘FLIP’ Title for what effective leadership does? Like the “flipped classroom,” “hybrid classroom,” “GRIT,” “AMO’s,” ELL’S,” and my favorite “safe harbor” does using so much jargon diminish communication with parents rather than foster it? I’ll reserve using “flip” for when I make pancakes. And who doesn’t seek a safe harbor?  We want your comments on this topic. See Peter DeWitt’s blog from Ed Week below. Education Week:  Flipped Leadership is about Instructional Leadership

It would be a grave mistake for Congress to retreat from the goals of No Child Left Behind.

Don’t Throw Out the Babies With the Bath Water! The NY Times editorial makes some good points but does not go far enough. Keep the education community and parents in decision making. Keep it simple. NAEP tests suffice; keep local control; federal funds for 3 P”S: preschool, public schools, poverty. The fourth “P” is for performance measures. That’s it! New York Times Editorial:  Don’t Give up the Gains in Education

Let’s not be napping while funds to public education get rerouted to the private sector or rolled back to Roman times.

This Ed Week article on the reauthorization of NCLB reminds me of Thomas Friedman’s thoughts from The World Is Flat about big change while we are sleeping. We need to be informed and contact our legislators before it is too late! I feel a bit like Paul Revere sounding the alarm. Education Week:  GOP in Driver’s Seat as Congress Tackles NCLB Rewrite

Lessons for Us All

Whether you are a high school teacher, an English teacher, college professor, principal, superintendent or educator trying to best blend the best of face-to-face and digital communication, we can all take counsel from the way David Carr looked at developing curriculum: “Who you are and what you have been through should give you a prism on life that belongs to you only.” He wanted his students to know who he was and what he believes as well as his valuing who they are and what they believe. He will be missed. New York Times: David Carr’s Last Word on Journalism, Aimed at Students

“Is ‘Grit’ Racist”

The “Is ‘Grit’ Racist” presentation at the EduCon 2.7 ed-tech conference in Philadelphia caused quite a stir. Some folks cannot understand how anyone can question Duckworth’s research and others point to John Wayne’s 1969 film “True Grit” as a reminder that there is nothing new, magic or racially connected  to working hard. We point out as have others that there is no one magic bullet nor any one characteristic, quality or behavior that guarantees success for all. Where do you stand on this question? Have you implemented programs or skills that build grit? What word or words would you use to capture the grit concept?  Education Week – Is ‘Grit’ Racist?

“If New York schools are in a state of crisis they’ve been in a state of crisis for 20 years.” Tom Loveless, senior fellow, Brookings Institution

If you bought into the 1983 Reagan error report “A Nation at Risk” then you know we have had a new reform movement in American education every few years. Additionally, you would know little if any change in student performance has been an outcome of these many reform movements and so-called crises. I’m still unclear as to why we ever bought into this crisis idea anyway, but it recurs whenever there is a new Sherriff in town. Perhaps it is our core belief in America that we should always and in all things be at the top? Perhaps we give the numbers too much credence. In Kate Taylor’s article in the New York edition of the New York Times, “Cuomo Cites School Crisis in New York; Data Suggest Otherwise” she reviews national results from NAEP tests, SAT’s and cites other research to question the Governor’s criticism of New York State’s teachers as a major cause of poor student performance on the state’s ELA and Math tests. Are kids, teachers and schools merely a pawn in a political game where one can spin data and numbers to prove whatever position one finds advantageous? Do we want our kids to do better? You bet. Do harder tests, quickly rolled out along with a new curriculum that teachers claim they did not have ample time to review, develop and implement appropriately lead to better student performance or more importantly significant learning? We are interested in the opinion of our school leaders. Let us know your thoughts.

Who should decide when, what and how often to test students?  Arne Duncan or the states?

Ed Week’s summary of the Congressional Debate about the reauthorization of the ESEA, “Battle Lines Drawn on Annual Testing in ESEA Renewal”, January 16) summarizes and highlights the most contentious issues from both sides of the aisles.  Quote from article: “The question at hand remains “to what extent should the federal government be telling states what to do about their schools?” Sen. Alexander told reporters Jan. 13. “I would like to move back toward the traditional responsibility of state and local governments” in education.” One thing is for certain: All this Inside-the-Beltway back-and-forth has serious implications for the future of teaching, learning, and school improvement, which for the past decade has been guided by the annual tests required in the law. – Share your thoughts with us.

What will it take for 2015 to ensure equal educational opportunity for all of New York’s students?

According to the New York Times editorial, $2 billion dollars from the Governor. The Central Crisis in New York Education

yearinreviewTop Education Commentaries of 2014: Education Week’s Most-Viewed

If you missed these stories in 2014 take a few moments to read them now. Lots to think about. How might any of this research affect your team? – Read

Home Schooling

Home Schooling:  More Pupils, Less Regulation “…there’s just not a real need for the state to be involved in overseeing education” according to Dewitt Black III From Home School Legal Defense Association. Really? What is your District’s policy on home schooling? Weigh in – let us know your thoughts.

Dr. Duckworth

Are you joining Dr. Duckworth’s “Grit” bandwagon or do you think maybe defining one quality as the make or break factor for success in school and life is a bit narrow?  Let us know what you think.

Marshall Memo

Marshall Memo will keep you informed and engaged in current research and leading edge thinking.  Let us know about a particularly helpful article.

Learning and Leading at Every Level:  Whole Child Lessons Learned

ASCD’s podcast is worth the listening time. K – 12 curriculum experts provide and discuss engaging whole child focused lessons that bridge social, emotional and academic learning.

How Strict is too Strict?  Helping or Hurting Kids?

Sarah Carr’s thoughtful article in the December Atlantic on how a “doctrinaire approach to discipline’ affects a New Orleans charter school and the national debate about the benefits and concerns in enforcing strict discipline policies makes cogent points from multiple perspectives including students and parents as well as reformers.  Please share your comments with us.    – Read Article

The King Exiled

John King Jr. NYS Education Chief, to Leave Many Policy Wars BehindThe New York Times Who should be the next commissioner? What kind of leader can bring us together and ensure we all act in the best interest of all NY State’s children? Please send us your comments

King’s First Official Farewell Video

What will happen once he gets to Washington? View Video

New York State’s Charter School Debates Heat Up

Zephyr Teachout and Mohammad Khan look at Wall St Hedge Fund money that winds up influencing Education Policy in Albany. Do you agree or is this a totally politically motivated rendering of the story? JSG wants the field to weigh in on these critical issues. Corruption in Education: Hedge Funds and the Takeover of New York’s Schools Send us your comments

Worth the Read, Follow, Etc…

Quality and Equity in Finnish School by Pasi Sahlberg Deborah Meier on Education Post: More Books by Teachers Yong Zhao Education in the Age of Globalization Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence edutopia (George Lucas Educational Foundation) Social-emotional skill can boost Common Core implementation – by Maurice J. Elias Kindergarten study reminds us of the importance of make-believe for young children as opposed to direct instruction. Based on Vygotsky’s work and more important than ever.  – Read article

Hackschooling Makes Me Happy: Logan LaPlante at TEDx

Many have commented that this is one of the best Tedtalks ever. What do you think and how might this video launch a different kind of administrative meeting?  – View

Ed Reform and Finland’s Model

What might Finland’s Reform Movement teach us, if anything? The repeated high performance of Finland’s students on many measures including PISA tests has stirred a great deal of conversation. Pasi Sahlberg in his article, for School Administrator “Quality and Equity in Finnish Schools,”  is currently a visiting professor at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education.

Yong Zhao

Yong Zhao currently serves as the Presidential Chair and Director of the Institute for Global and Online Education in the College of Education, University of Oregon, where he is also a Professor in the Department of Educational Measurement, Policy, and Leadership. He has written three books detailing what is good and bad about education in China and in the U.S. His new book, Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Dragon? is causing quite a stir as do his keynotes and talks. Check out his books and his website. Diane Ravitch’s review of Who’s Afraid of the Bid Bad Dragon?  Why China Has the Best (and Worst) Education System in the World. – Read now Also follow Yong Zhao on his website: Creative, Entrepreneurial, and Global:  21st Century Education

Meier and Ravitch

Both Deborah Meier and Diane Ravitch have posts, blogs, reviews and articles worth reading. They bring a cross section of commenters to us on the defining questions in educational leadership today. They bring us the teacher’s perspective as well as Washington’s.

Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence

Marc Brackett leads the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. You can get his Mood Meter App and help yourself, your team, students and parents to better understand and regulate their feelings. He is working nationally and internationally to use his research on Emotional Intelligence to reduce cyberbullying. His programs are in schools across the globe.

Ken Robinson’s TED Talk

This could be a great conversation starter at your next faculty or administrative meeting.  Filmed February 2006 at TED2006 Ken Robinson: How schools kill creativity   twitterFollow Pasi Sahlberg Follow Diane Ravitch