Massachusetts Governor's Office is looking for potential candidates to fill positions

A friend shared this with me, now I'm sharing it with you...

A member of the Diversity in Transition Committee is looking to provide Massachusetts Governor Patrick's successor with access to talented and qualified individuals from communities of color. The office is looking for potential candidates to fill positions in (but not limited to):

- Administration & Finance
- Business & Technology
- Consumer Affairs & Business Regulation
- Economic Development
- Education (K-12 and Higher Education)
- Elders Affairs
- Environmental Affairs
- Health & Human Services
- Housing & Community Development
- Labor & Workforce Development
- Public Safety
- Transportation
If you, or someone you know is interested, please upload resumes or LinkedIn profiles for review by our Committee to . In the questionnaire, indicate whether you are interested in a position or serving on a board or commission within the new Administration. The Committee will organize resumes received and present them to the new Administration in November 2014. 

Please note that submission of a resume does not guarantee a job, nor does it act as an application to a position. Instead, it will help a resume stand out during the transition process and support a formal application in November.

Thursday looking for Fellows

For those who are passionate about social impact, and looking to develop the tools and skills to become an effective social sector leader... New Sector Alliance is looking to recruit Fellows to become the next generation of social impact leaders. It targets college students, recent college grads, and those with 5 years work experience. Applications for New Sector's 2015-2016 programs are now open. The program is in Boston and San Francisco, Chicago and the Twin Cities. Specifically, it's accepting applications for our AmeriCorps RISESummer Fellowship and Senior Summer Fellowship programs.

For more information, see here: 
You can apply now to a New Sector Fellowship Program, by following this:  



U.S. Department of Education orders districts to fix funding disparities

In an official "Dear Colleague Letter" released this week, the U.S. Department of Education basically instructed school districts to have similar academic course offerings for its students, regardless of race, color, origin, etc. The Letter is issued by the Office of Civil Rights, which enforces Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin, in programs and activities receiving Federal financial assistance).
Chronic and widespread racial disparities in access to rigorous courses, academic programs, and extracurricular activities; stable workforces of effective teachers, leaders, and support staff; safe and appropriate school buildings and facilities; and modern technology and high-quality instructional materials further hinder the education of
students of color today. (Page 2).  
 As concrete examples, the letter cites:
But schools serving more students of color are less likely to offer advanced courses and gifted and talented programs than schools serving mostly white populations, and students of color are less likely than their white peers to be enrolled in those courses and programs within schools that have those offerings. For example, almost one in five black high school students attend a high school that does not offer Advanced Placement (AP) courses, a higher proportion than any other racial group. Students with limited-English-proficiency (English language learners) are also underrepresented in AP courses according to data from the 2011-12 school year. In that year, English language learners represented five percent of high school students, but only two percent of the students enrolled in an AP course.11 Similarly, of the high schools serving the most black and Latino students in the 2011-12 school year, only 74 percent offered Algebra II and only 66 percent offered chemistry. Comparable high-level opportunities were provided much more often in schools serving the fewest black and Latino students, where 83 percent offered Algebra II courses and 78 percent offered chemistry. (Page 3.)
On the facilities of schools:
The physical spaces where our children are educated are also important resources that influence the learning and development of all students, yet many of our Nation’s schools have fallen into disrepair. Too often, school districts with higher enrollments of students of color invest thousands of dollars less per student in their facilities than those districts with predominantly white enrollments. (Page 4.)
On teacher pay within the same school district:
. . . [D]isparities may be indicative of broader discriminatory policies or practices that, even if facially neutral, disadvantage students of color. For example, teachers in high schools serving the highest percentage of black and Latino students during the 2011-12 school year were paid on average $1,913 less per year than their colleagues in other schools within the same district that serve the lowest percentage of black and Latino students. (Page 5.)
The Letter also recognizes that snap-shot data may not tell the whole story.
The provision of equal opportunities may require more or less funding depending on the location of the school, the condition of existing facilities, and the particular needs of students such as English language learners and students with disabilities. For example, older facilities generally require more money for annual maintenance than do newer facilities. Similarly, greater annual per-pupil library expenditures for one school may reflect an effort to correct years of underfunding of a library collection. Funding disparities that benefit students of a particular race, color, or national origin may also permissibly occur when districts are attempting to remedy past discrimination. (Page 10.)

I encourage you to read more to find your own gems.



School's Back in Session -- Free Tutorial Videos

Is your student struggling with a concept?  Would you like an additional way to present material to a learner? Did you know that children (and students generally) often need to see material repeatedly before soaking it in?

Well, here's an E-Learning website with content-specific videos that may assist in the learning process:

Disclaimer:  I went to graduate school with the President/CEO of the company, so I can attest that he's one smart, talented guy.

The E-Learning website includes subjects of Math and English, but also includes such subjects as Geology (igneous rocks), Music (articulation, crescendo and descrescendo, forte and piano), Science and Technical (fluid power, types of bridges).


Harvard Rugby women celebrate Body and Strength

Ask someone how much I weigh and his or her answer is probably 20-40 pounds off the mark.  I've always been on the heavier-side -- literally -- than what a mirror might otherwise indicate.  I credit my gymnastic and swimming background for helping me appreciate my muscles, my tendons, my bones, my once-was flexibility, and my physique.  And, for showing me all the amazing things a body can do.  Scales have never been my "friend" -- but they haven't been my foe either.  I learned very quickly that numbers are numbers and you are you, but that you can't ignore one to the detriment of the other.

So, when I see a tumblr like this of the Harvard Rugby team of women who are celebrating themselves, I am proud and warmed.

Here's to "Rugged Grace":



DeKalb County (Atlanta) ranks 15th on School Choice -- Ahead of Boston and Charlotte and Cobb Co. (outside Atlanta) School Districts

A Brookings study released in Q1 2014, purportedly ranks school districts based School Choice, measured by 13 different categories of policy and practice.  Some of the 13 categories include virtual schools (and the % of students enrolled), availability of alternative schools (such as magnets, vouchers, affordable private, and tax credit scholarships), whether there is a policy of restructuring or closing schools, whether there is a common application to enroll, performance data, comparable standards and assessments, and transportation.  The purpose of the study is to "to create public awareness of the differences among districts in their support of school choice."  

A conversation about measurables aside (everyone knows that what you measure often dictates what you find), Brookings ranks the top 107 school districts -- with only New Orleans schools and NYC schools getting overall "A" or "A-" grades and school districts like Atlanta - Fulton County, Clayton County (south of Atlanta) and Shelby County, TN receiving grades of "F."  

DeKalb County (Atlanta) comes out passing with a "C+" at rank number 15.

Article found here:



Apparently, Just as Many Congresspeople attended UGA as Stanford

While legitimately pursuing Huffington Post (for a work assignment, I promise), I came across this little nugget.  According to research and data collection from a company called, just as many members of Congress attended the public universities of University of Virginia and the University of Georgia as members attended Stanford University.  Not quite sure whether that elevates those public universities, pulls down Stanford, or says something far less provocative, but I found it interesting -- in a I-might-need-this-as-a-trivia-answer kind of way.  Even more, The University of Texas - Austin has more than any of those schools.  Only Harvard (duh), Yale, and Georgetown have more members of Congress counted as alum.

What about the method?  Well, without a full statistical analysis, it seems that these differentials may even be underestimates.  For example, says, the study only counted a member's school once -- so if the member attended undergrad at particular university and then also attended some other graduate or post-secondary program at the same school, the study only counted the school once.  I suspect, if each program were independently counted, Harvard's numbers might be far and away above the others.  But, then again, so could fun public universities.  Thoughts?


How did your Georgia K-8 school do on the CRCTs (End-of-Year Summative Assessments)?

The Georgia Department of Education released the Criterion Referenced Competency Tests (CRCT) results on its website.  The CRCT tests 3-8th Graders on grade-level material in math, reading, science and social studies.  (Of course, the CRCT testing was the source of the "cheating scandal" I've written about before, but this is the final year of those tests.)

See this year's testing data here, by state, district, and school results.


The Most Compelling Points of Hobby Lobby (the dissent that is)

In light of the huge decision yesterday from the Supreme Court of the United States in Hobby Lobby et are portions of the dissent where Justice Ginsburg speaks so eloquently on several points -- with which I agree.

On Corporations as "people"

“In a sole proprietorship, the business and its owner are one and the same. By incorporating a business, however, an individual separates herself from the entity and escapes personal responsibility for the entity’s obligations.  One might ask why the separation should hold only when it serves the interest of those who control the corporation.”  – J. Ginsburg (dissent at p. 19).

“The distinction between a community made up of believers in the same religion and one embracing persons of diverse beliefs, clear as it is, constantly escapes the Court’s attention. . . . Again, the Court forgets that religious organizations exist to serve a community of believers. For-profit corporations do not fit that bill.” – J. Ginsburg (dissent at p. 17, 18).

On impact of corporate owner's religious beliefs (permitted to be exercised through a for-profit entity) on third-parties (i.e. employees)

“Women paid significantly more than men for preventive care, the amendment’s proponents noted; in fact, cost barriers operated to block many women from obtaining needed care at all. See, e.g., id., at 29070 (statement of Sen. Feinstein) (“Women of childbearing age spend 68 percent more in out-of-pocket health care costs than men.”); id., at 29302 (statement of Sen. Mikulski) (“co-payments are [often] so high that [women] avoid getting preventative and screening services] in the first place”).” – J. Ginsburg (dissent at p. 4).  “It bears note in this regard that the cost of an IUD is nearly equivalent to a month’s full-time pay for workers earning the minimum wage . . . that almost one-third of women would change their contraceptive method if costs were not a factor . . . and that only one-fourth of women who request an IUD actually have one inserted after finding out how expensive it would be . . . .” – J. Ginsburg (dissent at p. 25).  

“Importantly, the decisions whether to claim benefits under the plans are made not by Hobby Lobby or Conestoga, but by the covered employees and dependents, in consultation with their health care providers. Should an employee of Hobby Lobby or Conestoga share the religious beliefs of the Greens and Hahns, she is of course under no compulsion to use the contraceptives in question. . . . Any decision to use contraceptives made by a woman covered under Hobby Lobby’s or Conestoga’s plan will not be propelled by the Government, it will be the woman’s autonomous choice, informed by the physician she consults.”  – J. Ginsburg (dissent at p. 23).


Bing! asks for support for ad-free searches

K-12 students are children and youth inundated by information everyday.  Some of that information -- and probably more than we'd realize -- is marketing of products, services, and entertainment.  To that end, Bing! has launched an initiative to provide ad-free searching to schools to reduce some of this exposure to students in learning environments.

If you support this effort, go here


New Study says a college degree continues to be more valuable

An article published in the New York Times today shows that the value of having a college degree has risen dramatically since 1980 (for the 80's babies like me), and has even risen since 2010.

Here's a bit of the scoop of what writes:
The pay of people with a four-year college degree has risen compared to that of those with a high school degree but no college credit. The relative pay of people who attended college without earning a four-year degree has stayed flat.
Importantly, the article also notes:
a bachelor’s degree does not guarantee success. But of course it doesn’t. Nothing guarantees success . . .
The article even goes on to criticize the discussions aimed to depress people from going to college.
The decision not to attend college for fear that it’s a bad deal is among the most economically irrational decisions anybody could make in 2014.
To read the whole thing yourself, see here:

Is College Worth It? Clearly, New Data Say


Did you know? "Children of alumni had a 45 percent greater chance of admission"

This week the U.S. Supreme Court issued an Opinion that upheld the state of Michigan's ban on affirmative action policies for state undergraduate institutions.

The case is Schuette v. BAMN (the Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration and Immigration Rights and Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary).  It stems form a prior case, Grutter v. Bollinger, where the U.S. Supreme Court considered University of Michigan Law School's policy to consider an applicant's race/ethnicity as one of many factors toward law school admission.  After that decision, the state of Michigan voters adopted "Proposal 2" (which subsequently became part of the state's constitution -- Art. I, §26), a state law that "prohibits the use of race-based preferences as part of the admissions process for state universities."  Slip Opinion, page 1. In this instant case (that's what legal people say when they are referring to the case in discussion), the Supreme Court needed to determine whether the lower court should have struck down the voter's law.  Our U.S. Supreme Court determined that the appellate court was incorrect:  the state law of Michigan banning affirmative action was upheld as a proper.

The full opinion can be found here:

More to write on this soon. Including a juxtoposition like this one: affirmative action and legacy preference.


"New" Math of the Common Core is really THOUGHT Math

Circulating around the internet is a basic subtractions problem and an alternative way (under the Common Core curriculum) about how a student might go about finding the solution.

32 - 12 = ___

Here's an intuitive but not traditional way of solving it (although it does use the method of "adding to subtract" -- a way that first grade teachers have been using all over for years):  

- From "12" count up to the next number with a base of 5...   or "15"
- From "15" count up to the next number with a base of 10 ... or "20".  Generally, bases of 10 make for easy math.
- From the base of 10, count to the closest number with a base of 10 and careful not to exceed the integer ...  here, we count to "30" the closest base-10 integer without going over "32."
- Add any additional ones that it takes to reach the integer ... or "2" more ones.

we have added "12" plus "3" more to make "15"
then we have added "15" plus "5" more to make "20"
then we have added "20" plus "10" more to make "30"
finally we have added "30" plus "2" more to make "32"

If we account for everything we had to "add" to get from "12" to "32"... we reach the answer of "20" (3+5+10+12).  

Although this sounds complicated, it's actually mental math that many people do everyday.  Here's a great article that explains why this method is really not "new" and probably doesn't deserve visceral reactions


At Harvard: An examination of educational disparities between "haves" and the "have mores"

I renamed this piece, as the original author's title is "Kids, defined by income: Panel examines rising educational disparities between haves, have-nots" by CHRISTINA PAZZANESE/HARVARD STAFF WRITER.

In the short article, Pazzanese covers a new book entitled “Restoring Opportunity: The Crisis of Inequality and the Challenge for American Education” (Harvard Education Press) by Richard J. Murnane, Thompson Professor of Education and Society at Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE), and Greg J. Duncan, distinguished professor at the University of California, Irvine’s School of Education.  Pazzabese writes:

  • "income trend lines for affluent and poor Americans have dramatically diverged over the last 40 years, [and] so too have the educational achievement rates of their children."
  • "average per-pupil spending in public schools continues to vary widely among communities and states, so does the amount spent on student enrichment outside of school. In 1972-1973, wealthy parents spent $2,857 more per child than low-income parents to supplement learning; in 2005-2006, wealthy parents spent $7,993 more per child, according to the book."


Summer Opportunity: White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans

The White House Initiative’s Year-round Internship Program provides current undergraduate and graduate students with an opportunity to learn about African American-focused education policy, communications, and outreach at the U.S. Department of Education in Washington, D.C. 

Find the application here



Update on coding: highlight of VS Model Lyndsey Scott

Months ago, I linked a quick snippet about coding and the popularity it is receiving in the "do-something-unusual-but-not-that-unusual" education-based dialogue.

Today, here's a share from an interview with Ms. Lyndsey Scott, a college graduate in computer science who codes reguarly.  Oh, and she models for advertisers and a little lingere company known as Victoria's Secret.


Information about Every County in Mississippi: Education Scorecards

Some interesting information on education scorecards for the state of Mississippi came across my email desk today, so naturally I thought about the time I spent with the Mississippi state legislature and wanted to share them. I have a friend involved in their creation at the Center for Education Innovation, and I thought that they may peak some broader interest.




No Mandatory Drug Testing for Welfare Recipients

The 4th Amendment and (good) social policy have a joint win with 1 stone:   the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida has struck down a Florida state law requiring welfare applicants to be drug tested. The case is a Lebron v. Secretary of the Florida Department of Children & Families, Case No. 6:11-CV-01473-MSS-DAB (M.D. Fla. Jan. 2, 2014)

According to recent reports (see here), the Florida law
required parents to undergo and pay for urine tests for illegal drugs when they applied for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, a federal-state program that helps poor people with children pay for food, shelter and necessities.
The penalty for refusal to take the required test was a denial of the benefits.  Said another way, an applicant was required to submit themselves for screening by the government to help get help paying for food.  The justification for the law was in the interests of the public.

According to the Federal Court's decision, the Florida law was temporarily halted back in October 2011 until a federal court could sort the whole thing out.

More after the break...