A small but vocal group of individuals

They are an amazing group.  Some are poets, novelists, or visual artists.  Some have graduated from or are currently enrolled at prestigious colleges and universities such as UC Berkeley, Tulane, Oberlin and Harvard, among many others.  Most are advocates, some professionally, others as just something they do on the side to give back to the community. […]

A small but vocal group of individuals — Catherine & Katharine

Critical Race Theory and Parental Control

Imagine your child comes home from school one day, sullen and quiet.  You ask what is wrong, but he will not say anything.  Or your child says he must watch a video for school as homework, but the teacher says it is not for parents.  Or your child suddenly announces at dinner that the only […]

Critical Race Theory and Parental Control — United States Parents Involved in Education

Racial ideology infects private schools —

The obsession with instilling white guilt into students is not limited to public schools anymore.  It has now permeated private schools as well (“Dividing by Race Comes to Grade School,” The Wall Street Journal, Mar. 8). What is so disturbing is that parents who disagree with the trend are often asked to consider withdrawing their […]

Racial ideology infects private schools —

To Test or Not to Test: Is That the Question?

Written by Dr. Susan Assouline, Director of the Belin-Blank Center We sometimes hear from parents, educators, and students who question the value of standardized tests, particularly as colleges and universities suspend testing requirements due to the pandemic. While there are valid concerns among these questions, I propose that test bias, rather than the value of testing itself, […]

To Test or Not to Test: Is That the Question? — Belin-Blank Center

Looking Back on DC Education Reform 10 Years Later, Part 2: Test Cheats


[Ed. Note: In part 1 of this series, semi-retired educator Richard P. Phelps provided a first-hand account of what went down in DCPS as ed reformers in the early days of mayoral control pushed standardized tests; teacher evaluations based on those tests; and harsh school penalties. This second part looks at the cheating scandals that arose in the wake of such abusive practices. Such accounts are all the more important now that the DC auditor has just released a bombshell report of poor stewardship of DC’s education data. Both articles appeared in Nonpartisan Education Review in September 2020 and are reprinted here with permission. For this part, the author gratefully acknowledges the fact-checking assistance of retired DCPS teacher Erich Martel and DC school budget expert Mary Levy.]

By Richard P. Phelps

Ten years ago, I worked as the director of assessments for DCPS. For temporal context, I arrived after

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Looking Back on DC Education Reform 10 Years Later, Part 1: The Grand Tour


[Ed. Note: As DC’s office of the state superintendent of education (OSSE) seeks a waiver of PARCC testing again (recall that OSSE waived PARCC last school year due to the pandemic) and the DC auditor just released a bombshell report of poor stewardship of DC’s education data, it is time to revisit how standardized test data, teacher evaluations, and harsh school penalties were united by ed reformers in DCPS under mayoral control. This first-hand account of what went down in DCPS, the first of two parts by semi-retired educator Richard P. Phelps, appeared in Nonpartisan Education Review in September 2020 and is reprinted here with permission. The author thanks DC budget expert Mary Levy and retired DCPS teacher Erich Martel for their helpful comments in the research of this article.]

By Richard P. Phelps

Ten years ago, I worked as the director of assessments for DCPS. My tenure…

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Generative Learning Generates Learning

Paul A. Kirschner & Mirjam Neelen In the coming weeks, we’ll be publishing several blogs on generative and productive learning strategies. In short, generative learning isn’t just ‘being actively involved with the subject matter’, but rather doing something with what you have to or want to learn. It’s generative when you produce new things like […]

Generative Learning Generates Learning — 3-Star learning experiences

Profiles In (Dis)Courage(ment)


Number of students at DCPS and DC charter schools whose assessments were analyzed by a recent private study that determined there is terrible learning loss among DC students in remote instruction: About 30,000

Total number of DC public school students: More than 90,000

Number of charter schools participating in the study: 12

Total number of DC charter LEAs: 62

Enumerations in the study of students’ problems with internet connectivity, availability of tech devices, and/or their repair and use:…

Estimated number of DC students without one or more of those things during remote instruction: Unknown, but exceeding 30,000 in DCPS alone (based on distribution of laptops)

Number of committees currently on the DC Council: 12

Number of committees dedicated to education: 1

Number of committees on the DC Council starting in 2021: 10

Number of committees dedicated to education:…

Ratio of taxpayer funds for DC’s publicly funded schools to DC’s total…

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Inside Job (DC Edu Research And Governance Edition)


Last month, the DC public learned the identities of members of a task force that the DC council committee of the whole (COW) had assembled almost a year earlier, in spring 2020, to look at learning loss in the pandemic and advise COW about it.

Pictured below, the eight task force members have about 11 years total of classroom teaching, from what I could discern from their online resumes (see here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here).

While it’s unclear to me whether council members other than COW director (council chair Phil Mendelson) knew about this task force assembled on their behalf, it is certain that most DC taxpayers do not know the process by which this task force came into being, how often they met, with whom, and what was discussed.

To be sure, one might have a fairly good…

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The Brief, Distressed Life of a Virtual School

deutsch29: Mercedes Schneider's Blog

In July 2020, my school district unveiled its “virtual school” as one means of educating students during a pandemic.

At the time, I was surprised to read that the district had planning to open a virtual school anyway. The pandemic just sped up the process. From the July 11, 2020, Nola.com:

The St. Tammany Parish Public Schools system already planned to unveil its new online school this year to meet the needs of families living in an increasingly digital world. But the surge of coronavirus cases has the program on a fast track. …

STPPS Virtual School is a software platform that allows teachers to work directly with students via an online connection. The school will adhere to the same educational standards of the district’s 55 brick and mortar campuses….

Teachers will use instructional videos and modules to teach students and will monitor their progress through daily interaction. Classes…

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