Read This Book. Then Let’s Talk

School Change 2.0 is about to meet up with New Media 2.0 in New Haven. You’re invited to join the party.

The experiment within an experiment culminates on the evening of Nov. 30 with a multi-media live and cyberspace book-group discussion. The topic: Where should our schools be headed? What’s the best way to get there?

It starts with the most old-school of communications media: a hard-cover book. It continues by bringing together a national expert, local people making school change happen on the ground, and everyone else in New Haven and Connecticut who cares about public education, to get together in a school, in cyberspace, and on the air.

Diane Ravitch wrote the book. She’s one of the longest-serving and most intellectually interesting of America’s education policy thinkers.  A new book she wrote on the state of school reform, “The Death And Life Of The Great American School System,” has ricocheted into the churning debate over how the country should rescue and re-engineer its public schools.After helping to set national policy in the White House and then returning to academic life, Ravitch has changed her mind about what works and what doesn’t. She has inspired legions of critics and fans, as the national conversation moves to a new phase. Call it School Change 2.0.

New Media 2.0

Meanwhile New Haven is helping to forge that new approach—looking beyond rigid ideological frameworks—as it embarks on one of the nation’s most closely watched school change efforts. Unlike School Change 1.0—the first round of experiments in selected communities across the country—the emerging New Haven effort borrows and builds on ideas from all sides of the debate over what works best.

The Nov. 30 multi-dimensional discussion is an experiment, too, in developing a new way for different groups of people in a community to hash out complicated issues that affect their lives. It’ll happen in person and online, in several ways. A TV station, news website, and radio station will combine forces to provide a platform for people from all walks of life to engage together in real time. Call it New Media 2.0.

The Independent has asked 12 people involved at the ground level in our local education experiments—teachers, students, administrators, parents, watchdogs—to read Ravitch’s book. They’re doing that now.

Then, on Nov. 30, Ravitch plans to come to New Haven for an event sponsored by the Independent, WTNH and WNPR. She’ll sit with those 12 local readers for a roundtable discussion at Co-Op High School about how to turn around the schools—bringing the big ideas down to the grassroots here at home. You’ll be able to watch it at home as it happens; WTNH will live-stream the event on its website and on the Independent and WNPR websites. WNPR will also broadcast audio from the event.

Meanwhile, live at the event, another panel will be launching a second discussion. Reporters and elected officials who follow school change policies will live-blog the event as it happens. They’ll be discussing it together—and with you. Their blog conversation will be live-streamed as the event happens. You’ll be able to log right in and add your comments to the dialogue, a virtual book-group meeting.

After the hour-long panel discussion, Ravitch will field questions from others at the event.

The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven has provided financial support to make the Nov. 30 event happen. R. J. Julia Booksellers’ “Just The Right Book” donated the books for the panel. (You can order the book here.)

So read up, think about what what’s on the table, and get ready to help usher in a new era of both school change and community conversation.

School Change 2.0

That conversation takes place as New Haven’s school reform drive is still in its infancy. It hasn’t produced results yet. It has produced a fountain of ideas. Like so many ambitious social experiments in town over the past half century, it has inspired lots of smart people to think about policy in new ways. And like those other experiments, it desperately needs all parts of the public to weigh in from the outset.

The New Haven experiment reconstitutes under-performing schools in both not-for-profit charter and traditional public-school settings; and it first makes special efforts to improve those schools. The New Haven experiment has made it easier to fire failing teachers, but before doing so, it aims to help struggling instructors.

Most strikingly, the city has worked with the teachers union, rather than fighting it.

The New Haven experiment seeks “accountability” through hard measures that identify failing (as well as successful) schools and teachers. But it also goes beyond a strict reliance on just math and English standardized test scores. It does include those, but it also is developing more elaborate ways of judging what’s being taught and learned in the classroom. Teachers, schools, and administrators are all being graded.

And New Haven’s in the process of developing a way to get more kids to graduate high school and proceed to successful college careers, partly through a promise of dough from Yale and the Community Foundation, partly through a community campaign to enlist parents, teachers, and undergraduate volunteers to help students to prepare over 13 years to become college students.

 

Post a Comment

Commenting has closed for this entry

Comments

posted by: Allan Brison on November 18, 2010  2:42pm

This is truly exciting! Great work, Paul, in putting together this event and in bringing Diane Ravitch to New Haven.

posted by: FIX THE SCHOOLS on November 18, 2010  6:05pm

Let’s Get Ready To Rum-ble!

posted by: David on November 18, 2010  7:49pm

Texas already has too much control over public school books and curricula.  Why would the NHI promote a[n author] ... from Houston?

posted by: Truth Avenger on November 18, 2010  8:07pm

If you are a teacher, you should not miss this forum.  If you are a parent with school-aged children, you should not miss this forum.  Anyone interested in the present state of educational reform should not miss this forum. Thank you to NHI,WTNH,and WNPR for your community-minded collaboration in presenting this unique forum.

posted by: Lori on November 18, 2010  8:45pm

I have read the book and it is right on. It is about time someone gave Diane the platform to discuss her data with teachers, administrators, watchdogs, parents and politicians. I believe her revelations about the pitfalls of the path education and NCLB are on will withstand all attacks. Most importantly, I hope the criticisms expressed by Diane about the direction of school systems currently underway will enrage adults, force them to stand up and demand that their local boards of education and superintendents change direction. The future of public education for all children hangs in the balance.  Read the book and join in on the discussion.

posted by: Allan Brison on November 18, 2010  8:57pm

Fix,

Ah, but will you be ready to shed your cloak of anonymity for this “rumble”?

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on November 18, 2010  11:05pm

posted by: FIX THE SCHOOLS on November 18, 2010 5:05pm
Let’s Get Ready To Rum-ble!

As the students say bring your skills.But the problem is who in New Haven has the skills to take her on.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A_HwI6S92Eo

posted by: Tom Burns on November 19, 2010  2:11am

Paul,
I don’t know how you came up with the idea, but it is magnificent—Diane Ravitch in our town to talk about education—-I am speechless for probably the first time in my life——you and all of our community have this moment to do something special and it seems that everyone is coming together at just the right time to do get it done—TOGETHER——Thanks for all you do—Tom

posted by: FIX THE SCHOOLS on November 19, 2010  11:36am

Allan,  You’re about the only person in New Haven who still thinks I do have anonymity!

With Alex Johnston and Michael Thomas slated to be on the panel, perhaps Diane Ravitch might even have to untie her hand from behind her back to take them on.

posted by: Chris Willems at Wilbur Cross on November 19, 2010  11:49am

This is very exciting.  I read this book last summer, and will reread it in anticipation of attending this event!

I asked the leaders of our student council and our principal and they had heard about this.

What are the specifics for the live event?  Do we need advance tickets?

Thank you.

[Editor’s Note: No advance tickets needed. It’s free. 7 p.m. at Co-Op on Nov. 30. Come a little earlier than 7; it’ll start sharp, because it’ll be live-streamed on numerous sites.]

posted by: Truth Avenger on November 19, 2010  12:25pm

To David- NHI isn’t promoting an author per se’- They are promoting a dialog with someone who happens to be an expert in the field of Education- someone who has seen “both sides” of the reform coin, and has strong, informed opinions and ideas.  Where she comes from, is completely irrelevant, and whatever Texas is doing, is just that.

posted by: N'Zinga Shani on November 19, 2010  3:07pm

Non-profit, smart, community media, responsible educators and business collaborators, and real civic engagement all at their very best.  This is what is possible.  Congratulations to Paul Bass and the NHI for having the vision to do this.

Kudos also to Dr. Reginald Mayo, Garth Harries, Imma Canelli, David Cicarella and the city-wide PTO. What NHPS and NH Teachers Union are doing together is simply wonderful. This time Reform will work in NH.  We do need to remember that parents and teachers truly working together are at the center of the desired successfull outcomes for our children.  And yes, they are all our children.

On Sun. Dec. 5, 7-8PM, and Wed Dec. 8, 9-10PM on Comcast Chan. 26, CTV, OneWorld will present a one hour program about the NHPS Reform Plan.  The guests are: Garth Harries, Asst Supt of Portfolio & Performance Management(NHPS Architect for reform), Imma Canelli, Asst. Supt, Curriculum & Instruction, NHPS, David Cicarella, president, NH Teachers Federation, Erik Clemons and Mary Rosario, City-wide PTO parent representatives.

David, Imma and Garth made it clear why Reform2 will work in NH this time.  This past Tues. Garth, a high school principal and a teacher/leader told us how it is working in the schools both at the Pre-K -8 and high school levels.  This is truly exciting. If we the adults can demonstrate to children how truly exciting and beneficial a good education is, half the problems for the future will be solved. Visit http://www.oneworldpi.org to
learn more about OneWorld’s education efforts.

The Promise Corp is the next level of civic involvement.  These conversations are critical and beneficial.  We at OneWorld are delighted to be involved. It certainly is better to light candles of information than to curse the darkness of ignorance.  All of us who are now over age 30 have a vested interest in the academic success of every child in our state and in the country.  We will need them.  I am confident that this Nov. 30 event will go a long way in helping all parents to more fully appreciate the benefits of education reform, the importance of their role and the wonderful opportunity being offered by Yale’s Promise program.

Again, hats off to Paul Bass and the NHI and all those who are participating.  While we cannot be there in person, we will be there in purpose.  We are going in the right direction. I am also please to announce that “21st Century Conversations” is back on the air at Comcast Chan. 26, Sundays at 7PM & Wed at 9PM. We are also on AT&T U-Verse (99) and on all major cable systems in CT.  Peace & blessings to all.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on November 19, 2010  5:44pm

: FIX THE SCHOOLS on November 19, 2010 10:36am
Allan,  You’re about the only person in New Haven who still thinks I do have anonymity!

With Alex Johnston and Michael Thomas slated to be on the panel, perhaps Diane Ravitch might even have to untie her hand from behind her back to take them on.

Diane Ravitch could have a blindfold on and still beat both of them.Also don’t forget Gary Highsmith.I saw you man alex on a panel in harford.I took him on and he could not answer my questions.How many books on education has alex wrote? Like I said this women is comming with skills.Last How come the owner of Achievement First is not on the panel?

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on November 19, 2010  5:53pm

posted by: N’Zinga Shani on November 19, 2010 2:07pm

David, Imma and Garth made it clear why Reform2 will work in NH this time.  This past Tues. Garth, a high school principal and a teacher/leader told us how it is working in the schools both at the Pre-K -8 and high school levels.  This is truly exciting. If we the adults can demonstrate to children how truly exciting and beneficial a good education is, half the problems for the future will be solved. Visit http://www.oneworldpi.org to
learn more about OneWorld’s education efforts.

You need to read the whole story on Garth Harries and why he came here to new haven.

Classroom Time

He has one year of teaching experience, as a high school history and math teacher at the Vail Mountain School in Colorado.

When the New Haven post was created, Mayo elicited some concern by saying he wouldn’t require the new school reform czar to have teaching experience.

In fact read the rest.

Friday, June 12, 2009
Garth Harries Leaves New York City, and This is a Good Thing.

http://nycrubberroomreporter.blogspot.com/2009/06/garth-harries-leaves-new-york-city-and.html

posted by: Allan Brison on November 19, 2010  6:17pm

Fix wrote:
Allan,  You’re about the only person in New Haven who still thinks I do have anonymity!

Fix, That may be. I’ve always assumed you were an out of town, out of state banker trying to open up new markets for publicly-owned, privately-run for-profit charter schools, a bonanza for the banking industry.

posted by: Concerned Citizen on November 19, 2010  10:32pm

Threefifths, exactly what is your point in referring readers to the Rubber Room article about Garth Harries?  So one woman has a complaint, and there is an extensive article about Mr. Harries’ work in NY and the people griping about their school space.  So what?  He seems to be doing a great job in NH.

There are some parents and community people who like to protest and complain about everything; they want the status quo without having a clue as to what could be better if they had the courage to support change.  It is easier to gripe than to step up and accept the challenge to find a better way.  One year in a classroom is enough to tell a perceptive and visionary person what needs to be changed.

New Haven, Bpt, Waterbury and public school systems in many other large urban cities are filled with teachers who have decades of experience in the classroom, but the children they taught have nothing to show for it.  Yes, there are situations, jobs, and skill-building activities where people get better with practice, but it is not always true.  There are teachers who have been retired from teaching for years, but they are still in the classroom; that is bad for children.  One does not have to have years as a teacher to be an effective education reform architect.  Try contributing something positive for a change.  You are far too negative.

posted by: The Baker on November 19, 2010  11:26pm

David, don’t be misguided.  Just because Ravitch is pals with the Bushes and from a petrol state, she now lives in Brooklyn.  Albeit that borough is a sort of slumming Hollywood, it shows that she has tried to leave her roots and likely embraces the deep-thinking contradictions of those West Hollywood writers who supply content for Reason magazine.

posted by: sols on November 20, 2010  7:02am

Are there two panels? at the same time? Ravitch’s website says the event is at 6? In the comments, Bass says it is at 7? There is a rround-table THEN a panel, then questions? In the same location or different? Do they not really want the public to see this, or do only the people in power get to know the actual details?

[Editor’s note: Sorry for the confusion. The time was posted incorrectly on Ravitch’s web site. The correct time is 7 o’clock. There will be one panel speaking with Ravitch, and another panel live-blogging the event. Questions from the audience take place after the panel discussion. All are welcome. It will be in the auditorium at Co-op, which fits 300.]

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on November 20, 2010  4:12pm

posted by: Concerned Citizen on November 19, 2010 9:32pm

Threefifths, exactly what is your point in referring readers to the Rubber Room article about Garth Harries?  So one woman has a complaint, and there is an extensive article about Mr. Harries’ work in NY and the people griping about their school space.  So what?  He seems to be doing a great job in NH.

My point is you need to read the whole story.There was more than one parent complaining.Second you have parents here complaining how doums take over there school building in hamden.Show me what a great job he is doing.He still answer to Dr.mayo and king John.So what is your point.


There are some parents and community people who like to protest and complain about everything; they want the status quo without having a clue as to what could be better if they had the courage to support change.  It is easier to gripe than to step up and accept the challenge to find a better way.  One year in a classroom is enough to tell a perceptive and visionary person what needs to be changed.

What is better for you may not be better for someone else.That why peole have the right to protest and complain.

New Haven, Bpt, Waterbury and public school systems in many other large urban cities are filled with teachers who have decades of experience in the classroom, but the children they taught have nothing to show for it.  Yes, there are situations, jobs, and skill-building activities where people get better with practice, but it is not always true.  There are teachers who have been retired from teaching for years, but they are still in the classroom; that is bad for children.  One does not have to have years as a teacher to be an effective education reform architect.

You need to read the study that shows it takes teachers at lease three years to be affected teachers.By the way If Garth Harries was so good.Why did they give him a wavier?

Try contributing something positive for a change.  You are far too negative.

I’ve always believed that you can think positive just as well as you can think negative.
quotes by James Baldwin

posted by: Margaret on November 22, 2010  3:00pm

What time?

[7 p.m.]

posted by: CedarHillFriend on November 30, 2010  11:08am

Where is a complete list of people on the panel?

[Here: http://www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/join_the_conversation_ravitch/ ]

posted by: Jesse Turner on December 1, 2010  12:02pm

Thank you Diane for coming to Connecticut last night. It has been a long time since I have heard someone truly defend teachers. Thank you for writing and speaking the truth.
Keep telling it on every mountain top.
Sincerely,
Jesse Turner
Children Are More Than Test Scores