About this blog Subscribe to this blog

Morning Round-up January 23, 2007

Acquisition Ban Lifter at Career Education NYT
Career Education is battling back from government investigations, private lawsuits and accreditation problems, many stemming from accusations that the company cheated on admissions practices, financial aid and job placement.

Teachers Tackle Their Own Extra Credit
WaPo
Although some wonder how much the program raises student achievement, there is a growing movement toward national certification. The number of board-certified teachers has tripled in the past five years to more than 55,000 nationwide.

Pete Seeger among children's book winners CNN.com
A book by Pete Seeger about a young musician who loses his hearing and a wordless story about an underwater camera were among the winners of children's book prizes announced Monday by the American Library Association.

New Documentary: "Whatever It Takes"

There's an interesting new documentary about school reform on its way, this one (called "Whatever It Takes") about a small school and a new principal in the South Bronx. Shot during 05-06, it's a labor of love that's still in post-production, but it's already won some small awards and there's a nice trailer to look at (surf to www.whateverittakesdoc.com). Or to watch a YouTube version of the video click below.

When finished, the full-length documentary will take a hard look at both sides of the small schools debate, says director Christopher Wong, asking the tough question: "can a team of dedicated individuals, within the context of a small school, bring about educational change for talented but underprivileged students born into a community of poverty and hopelessness?"

The title may remind some of the much-admired NYT Magazine article from a few weeks ago, "What it takes to make a student," whose author I interviewed just before this site switched over to EdWeek.org. You can check that out here.

Continue reading "New Documentary: "Whatever It Takes"" »

Who's Under More Pressure To "Deliver" NCLB? Pelosi Or Bush?

Riffing off of a Washington Post story about the upcoming struggles Speaker Pelosi faces within her own ranks, Eduwonk posts on how challenging it is going to be for NCLB to get reauthorized (NCLB'ed) -- and whether that falls in Pelosi's lap or the President's. "The line about Pelosi feeling she needs to deliver for new members and what they ran on is a down arrow on NCLB in some cases," writes Eduwonk. "But, isn't the President's forthcoming budget request (and any private signals he might be sending) pretty key here in terms of whether we get to an NCLB deal?"

Ravitch Moves Left On Teachers Unions

Proving once again that she's nothing if not iconoclastic, Diane Ravitch seems to be moving much farther left than most would expect. Or maybe I just assumed she was a critic.

It's not just the joint appearances with small schools queen Debbie Meier -- soon to be turned into a new EdWeek venture, I'm told. She's also featured in the latest issue of the American Educator in strong support of teachers unions (Cultivating Solutions) of all things:

"Protecting teachers from ill-conceived instructional mandates, intolerable conditions, and poor compensation—these are all reasons why teacher unions were important 100 years ago, and remain so today, says this noted education historian."

No wonder they put her on the cover. For an online interview of her from last year, check out On The HotSeat: Uber-Contrarian Diane Ravitch.

State Of The Union Preview: Reauthorize NCLB

Don't expect much from the President about education in the upcoming State Of The Union besides the call to reauthorize NCLB, based on this mention in a White House press briefing last week: " I think that the issues that the President has chosen to talk about in the State of the Union are ones that we all agree on the ultimate goal -- maybe not on every single detail -- but we have different paths of getting there. And I think that he believes that there are ways that we can work together -- on energy reform, there's a lot of common ground there. On education reform, No Child Left Behind is beginning to show some results. And so as that gets reauthorized this year, under the leadership of Secretary Spellings and Senator Ted Kennedy, I think that a lot can get done there."

This is a far cry from last year, when SOTU-watchers were all aflutter about the President's STEM proposal, which like most things mentioned in these speeches went nowhere: $9B Proposed for Science Education.

What Hillary's Candidacy Means For Education - Not Much

As the first '08 presidential candidate to make front, top and left of the Washington Post, Hillary Clinton made the rumors official on Saturday, January 20, 2007 - exactly two years from the date of the next presidential inauguration. She used a highly-praised online video on her website to make the announcement (which never mentions education), coupled with a typed statement of her candidacy (which barely mentions education). The most popular policy issue associated with Hillary is health care - something she did stress in her announcement.

Clinton's statement on NCLB's 5th anniversary notes her original support for NCLB and her charge that the Bush administration is under-funding NCLB. At the same time, she has earned an "A" from the NEA for voting in their interests 100% of the time in 2005 and submitted a request to the Government Accountability Office regarding the "slow progress in implementing academic assistance for students under the No Child Left Behind Act."

To see her stances on education in the Senate click here. A comprehensive site called On The Issues has a lengthy profile of Hillary's stances on education from AR to U.S. Senate. Main points: doesn't support school vouchers, supports types of performance pay, one-time testing for teachers - but no word yet on National Standards. My advice - don't hold your breath.

Morning Round-up January 22, 2007

Oregon latest state to raise graduation requirements Boston Globe
Oregon is the latest state to take action in a nationwide movement to raise graduation requirements after a speech Microsoft Corp. chairman Bill Gates gave to the nation's governors in 2005.

Taking Middle Schoolers Out of the Middle NYT
The two schools, in disparate corners of the nation’s largest school system, are part of a national effort to rethink middle school, driven by increasingly well-documented slumps in learning among early adolescents as well as middle school crime rates and stubborn high school dropout rates.

Education Department says lender was overpaid
AP
Under the deal, the Education Department said any future payments the Lincoln, Nebraska-based company, Nelnet, has pending from the agency for subsidies on student loans will go through a review process to determine what the proper amounts should be.

Week In Review January 16-21

Looking Forward - 2008
What Obama's Candidacy Means For Education

On The Hill
New House Ed Committee Name & Staff List
Good News For Ed Funding and Earmarks
Dems Lengthen Subcommittee Names (& Name New Heads)
What 1.2 Trillion Could Have Bought

Media Watch
Jerry Bracey On The Huffington Post
Assignment Changes At The Washington Post

National Standards
National Standards -- Then Vs. Now
Quest Columnist Kevin Kosar: Do National Standards Have A Chance?

Education Policy
Exclusive: Security Checks For Ed Researchers
Regulating The Testing Industry Returns
The Think Tank Mystery

Best Of The Rest
Oprah's School
Pop Princess Calls Out President Bush On NLCB
Breaking Up All-Star Faculties In NYC
Banning Soccer

Banning Soccer

There's been a slew of banning going on around the country, it seems (cell phones, games of tag, etc.) -- most of which seem ridiculous from the outside even as they make sense to those who propose them. This one might take the cake: a Georgia town has banned kids from playing soccer on public playing fields. But of course it's simpler, and more complicated, than that. In the NYT: Refugees Find Hostility and Hope on Soccer Field

Articles I Should Have Blogged

As usual, there are lots of articles I didn't get to this week. Click below to check out a few of them.

Continue reading "Articles I Should Have Blogged" »

Assignment Changes At The Washington Post

Mediabistro reports that the Washington Post is moving Valerie Strauss up to higher ed where she'll join up with Susan Kinzie.

To fill in where Strauss had been, the paper is also moving Amit Paley (pictured) to cover K12 with Jay Mathews.

Congrats and condolences to all involved (and their sources). Click here for the details: FishbowlDC.

Morning Round-up January 19, 2007

Study: World falling behind on 2015 education goal CNN.com
the study by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences said the goal of providing a high-quality education to all children could be achieved at a reasonable cost with more support and funding from governments worldwide.

Court Hears Case on Use of Fees by Teachers' Union EdWeek
A case testing the constitutionality of a Washington state law that requires nonunion teachers to “affirmatively consent,” or opt in, before a teachers’ union may spend money from “agency fees” on political campaigns and similar activism.

Gaming advances as a learning tool eSchool News
Educators increasingly are using sophisticated computer games to snag and hold the interest of the "digital natives" in their classrooms, but some teachers have trouble accepting the educational value of making learning fun.

Guest Columnist Kevin Kosar: Do National Standards Have A Chance?

National standards expert Kevin Kosar writes in with the following guest column on the current national standards debate:

While researching my dissertation on the politics of education standards just a few years ago, I conducted a number of interviews with smart people in the education policy world.


One of them was Checker Finn of the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation.

Just over four years ago, Checker graciously fit me into his dense schedule and we spoke at length.

When I raised the question of national standards, Checker responded, that “nobody wants” national standards and that idea “isn’t even being discussed.”

Continue reading "Guest Columnist Kevin Kosar: Do National Standards Have A Chance?" »

Dems Lengthen Subcommittee Names (& Name New Heads)

Click below to check out the full list of House education subcommittee members, as announced by Chairman Miller's office earlier today - along with some snazzy new names.

**Ed Reform gets a new long name and Kildee as head.

**21st Century Competitiveness gets a new long name and Hinojosa as head.

**Select Education turns into "Healthy Families & Communities" and McCarthy heads it.

Where's Woolsey? She's heading a labor panel.

Continue reading "Dems Lengthen Subcommittee Names (& Name New Heads)" »

Breaking Up All-Star Faculties In NYC

Even though he's only controlled the school system for four years, NYC Mayor Bloomberg keeps rolling out the changes -- the most notable of the latest (Bloomberg Seeks Further Changes) include dismantling his "regional" superintendents structure to go to a more local, distributed model and making an effort to weight student funding so that any discrepancies in how much money each school gets per child are based on educational needs (special ed, low-income, ELL) not faculty salaries.

It's interesting to see the echoes here of mid of Chicago in the late 1990s, where Mayor Daley and Paul Vallas tried to do too much, too fast in the first years after their schools takeover. It's also important to highlight the resistance that will come when Bloomberg starts breaking up the all-star faculties at more affluent schools -- to "break the lock that many schools in middle-class neighborhoods have had on highly paid veteran teachers," according to David Herszenhorn (Big Risks for the Mayor).

National Standards -- Then Vs. Now

Voluntary National Testing Then

Supported by a still-popular 2nd term President (Clinton).

Debated as part of the annual approps process (FY97-98).

Supported by a popular EdSec (Riley).

Proposed right after a big Democratic win (’96).

Supported by business (Biz Roundtable & US Chamber).

Supported by several states & districts (7 or so, as I recall).

Voluntary National Standards Now

Supported by a long-shot Presidential candidate (Dodd).

Proposed as part of reauthorization of an unpopular law (NCLB).

Proposed by a group not in favor with their own party (Fordham).

Opposed by an unpopular EdSec (Spellings).

Proposed right after a big Republican loss (’06).

Supported by the NEA & Others (to scuttle NCLB).

Not supported by any states or districts.

Continue reading "National Standards -- Then Vs. Now" »

Pop Princess Calls Out President Bush On NCLB

Pop singer Pink (pictured) apparently has a song out now called "Dear Mr. President" that includes the following profound lines about NCLB:

Dear Mr. President...
How can you say No child is left behind?
We're not dumb and we're not blind.
They're all sitting in your cells.
While you pave the road to hell.

Found on a million MySpace pages.

UUPDATE: The video is loaded below, by reader request. Apparently it's a good tune. Maybe the AFT or NEA can make it their new fight song. Click below.

Continue reading "Pop Princess Calls Out President Bush On NCLB" »

Morning Round-up January 18, 2007

Senate to consider bill on student loans AP
The debate over whether to cut interest rates on student loans is moving to the Senate after the House voted 356-71 on Wednesday to pass a bill cutting interest rates on need-based student loans in half, from 6.8 to 3.4 percent, over five years. Kennedy scheduled a Senate hearing for next week.

Plan to let parents track MySpace profiles met with skepticism
USAT
North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper says the notification software "really doesn't do enough" to protect children. "You've got 10-, 11- and 12-year-old kids who are on the site — that's a problem. Parents are lulled into thinking that this is a safe site for children … but they are a mouse click away from predators and porn."

Ear tubes not needed to promote learning, study shows CNN.com
Implanting ear tubes in most toddlers with frequent infections will make no difference in their learning or behavior through primary school, according to a study challenging one big reason for these common procedures.

Regulating The Testing Industry Returns

The most interesting parts of this article on NCLB is its simultaneous call for more regulation of the testing industry -- and more different kinds of testing. Usually, folks call for one or the other, especially in the context of criticizing NCLB, but not these guys (The untested theories behind No Child Left Behind). Specifically, they call for computer-adaptive tests and formative assessments instead of the current proliferation of annual standardized tests.

The Think Tank Mystery

Careyb1Over at The Quick and The Ed, Kevin Carey riffs off a recent Malcolm Gladwell article in the New Yorker about the Enron investigation to make the point that analyzing and interpreting existing information (like the Education Sector does) is increasingly important in a world filled with lots of data but relatively little understanding. Carey's post (Mysteries, Puzzles, & Think Tanks) lays out an argument that is unusually elegant.

What he leaves out, however, is how difficult it is for think tanks to do good analysis and be influential on policy and advocacy at the same time. The two functions do not go well together, and outfits that try and do both -- or get the balance wrong -- are easily dismissed even if the underlying analysis is perfectly responsible.

What $1.2 Trillion Could Have Bought

"The human mind isn’t very well equipped to make sense of a figure like $1.2 trillion. We don’t deal with a trillion of anything in our daily lives, and so when we come across such a big number, it is hard to distinguish it from any other big number," begins this NYT article on how much the Iraq war has cost -- and what that money could have been used for instead (What $1.2 Trillion Can Buy - New York Times). It actually takes a fair amount of work to spend that much, even including high-cost items like universal preschool.

What Obama's Candidacy Means For Education

Illinois Senator Barack Obama's entry into the 2008 Presidential campaign has lots of potential implications for education, including most obviously making CT Senator Chris Dodd even more of a long shot than he already was, and, by extension, making national standards, Dodd's current education issue, even more of a nonstarter.

But that's not all. Obama is an interesting, hard to read candidate on education issues, and is not only pro-charter but also -- maybe -- open to vouchers. (Hey, the guy smokes, too, didn't you know?).

Here are some recent posts about Obama and his education agenda from over the past few months:
First-Week Proposals On The Fritzwire (Innovation Districts)
Vouchers & Obama In The 2008 Primaries
Obama Shows Independence on Education

Good News For Ed Funding and Earmarks

According to a recent Q and A with Ellin Nolan, president of education lobbying firm Washington Partners, the newly-passed rules on earmarks, gifts, and ethics will have a mixed but relatively benign effect on the education environment. "Most Members take pride in helping constituents get special consideration for federal funding," she says. "They are very willing to stand up and take credit for directing resources to their states or districts. " If anything, budget pressures not sunshine laws will have a dampening effect, she says. And the gift ban is not much of an issue for education groups and nonprofits. As for FY2008 (the upcoming budget year), Nolan is optimistic that incoming Labor-HHS chairman Harkin may be able to free up more resources for education than in the past.

Exclusive: Security Checks For Ed Researchers


It's like a bad episode of "Alias." Mild-mannered researchers working with the USDE are being asked (for the first time, apparently) to fill out investigative reports on themselves and submit to what seems like a security clearance in order to continue their work with the USDE.

"We all have to fill out security questionnaires and get background investigations (and credit checks)," writes one such researcher. "It's very invasive and I can't see the purpose of it other than to get as many people as possible into their homeland security database. Basically if you don't fill it out you can't work on ED projects."

Continue reading "Exclusive: Security Checks For Ed Researchers" »

102nd Carnival of Education

The Carnival of Education opened today for the hundred and second time at Dr. Homeslice. The Carnival opens with a quote from Dr Martin Luther King and then jumps right on in:

Incidents of students impersonating teachers online are rising, especially on Myspace. Brice recounts making a slanderous Myspace page a high school teacher he hated. He also remembers getting caught after doing it.

Happy first birthday to NCLBlog over at AFT! A number of key blogosphere types share their favorite posts over the past year from the blog. Kind of like a rockumentary for a blog.

Morning Round-up January 17, 2007

Census: Kids in poverty have less parent time CNN.com
The U.S. Census Bureau report, "A Child's Day: 2003," found American children living in poverty or in single-parent homes have less interaction with their parents and are more likely to have trouble at school than youths in wealthier, two-parent homes.

Community colleges aim for more respect CSM
Fewer than half of community college students meet their educational goals, and that has a ripple effect in efforts to educate local workforces and make the United States more competitive.

Citizen Schools: An After-Hours Adventure EdWeek
Launched in Boston in 1994, the program targets what some say is an underserved population in after-school education—middle school students—through a highly structured blend of academic tutoring and mentoring.

Another Big Magazine Article That's Not Free / Online

Between the New Yorker article (see below) and this one, I guess this is the month for big magazine articles on education, which is great, but unfortunately they're neither of them available online -- or at least not for free.

"Hurricane Katrina destroyed one of America’s worst school systems and made New Orleans the nation’s laboratory for educational reform," begins this Atlantic Monthly article by Amy Waldman (Reading, Writing, Resurrection)."But can determined educators and entrepreneurs transcend the damage of the flood—and of history?"

If anyone spots it or has a spare copy, please let the rest of us know. It looks good.

New House Ed Committee Name & Staff List

Prior to January 4, 2007 and the beginning of the 110th Congress, there was only one reason to go to the House Education and Workforce Committee Website - for the schedule of committee hearings. Now, the site has been completely re-vamped. The committee has been renamed the Education and Labor committee (no more "workforce"). The new site has a front-and-center section with the committee's priorities. No Child Left Behind has it's own webpage, with additional pages regarding how the Bush administration has "shortchanged" NCLB and the Reading First scandal.

The site also has a comphrensive list of committee staff and their portfolios. Please send tips, gossip, and sightings for Alice Johnson Cain, Amy Elverum, Denise Forte, Ruth Friedman, Lauren Gibbs, Gabriella Gomez, Lloyd Horwich, Lamont Ivey, Ann-Frances Lambert, Ricardo Martinez, Lisette Partelow, Julie Radocchia, and Theda Zawaiza to thisweekineducation@gmail.com.

Good Reading For A Snow Day

Snowed in and looking for something good to read? Check out Jay Mathews' uplifting profile of what sounds like an amazing teacher in LA (America's Best Classroom Teacher).

The teacher, Rafe Esquith, has a new book out, Teach Like Your Hair's On Fire, and has been profiled by NPR in the past (Inner-City Teacher Takes No Shortcuts to Success).

Mathews points out that most big-name teachers have left the classroom (though not Jason Kamras, I'd point out -- he went back, last I heard). He also says that Esquith disagrees with KIPP folks like Mike Feinberg (who was interviewed here recently), but doesn't say exactly how.

Jerry Bracey On The Huffington Post

If you have any doubts about where the Huffington Post (a group blog run by Arianna Huffington) sits on the political spectrum, the recent arrival of Gerry Bracey on the scene should give you a good sense of things. Bracey writes the annual Rotten Apples report on the worst people in education (bio here). He tells me that he got the gig via another smart leftie, Jeannie Oakes, who did some work with Huffington during her political days. Click here for his posts from December and early January. Click here for the Rotten Apples report.

Oprah's School

Several folks have pointed out that the scrutiny and criticism surrounding Oprah's school has been exaggerrated, sexist, and perhaps even racist. This article from Salon.com (What Oprah can't forget) takes that argument one step further and tries to figure out where the hypocrisy surrounding wealth and philanthropy comes from -- and why Oprah created such a lavish school. Previous posts here and here. You have to watch a short ad to read the entire article.

Catching Up With The EduBlogs

The Eduwonks point to a school where the Feds have required cheerleading for girls' sports as well as boys' (Federally-mandated Cheerleading). Jeff Jarvis discusses new ideas about spreading technology access (Two laptops per child ). Joe Williams at The Chalkboard says a top NYC education official is jumping ship (Michele Cahill To Carnegie). Richard Lee Colvin points to an LA Times story about an elementary school story that's turning things around (Leadership Helps Compton School Soar). Eduwonk spanks Kansas for being crazy (What Is The Matter With Kansas?). Joanne Jacobs digs up an NPR correspondent's views on black achievement (Can do). The Hall Monitor finds the state's HQT report predictable (No surprises).

Morning Round-up January 16, 2006

National standards under review as lawmakers prepare to take up No Child Left Behind AP
The No Child Left Behind law was supposed to level the playing field, promising students an equal education no matter where they live or their background. However, each state sets its own standards for subjects such as reading and math, then tests to see whether students meet those benchmarks.

For Teachers, being 'Highly Qualified' Is a Subjective Matter
WaPo
Some education experts say that meeting the standards of quality is more about shuffling paper than achieving two vital goals: ensuring that teachers are prepared to help students succeed and reducing the teacher talent gap between rich and poor schools.

Panel Urges 'Marshall Plan' to Improve Middle Schools NYT
A coalition of community groups is calling for the city Department of Education to develop a “Marshall Plan for middle-grade schools,” saying that all too often, the sixth through eighth grades become “pathways to failure.”

Week In Review January 8-15

Best Of The Week
School Reform In Denver
Speaking Truth To The Powerless

Exclusive
Gates Enters The 2008 Campaign
Romer To Head Gates/Broad '08 Election Push

NCLB Anniversary
Competing Agendas, "No" On National Standards, New Faces
Don't Forget The Teachers, Says LDH
NCLB Watch: Week One
Conservative Fears Of NCLB Expansion

Philanthropy
New America Makes A Splash
Learning From Their Mistakes

The Business Of Education
More On The Education Industry
This Week's Business News
Florida NEA Funds Rod Paige, & More

Media Watch
Three Takes On NCLB Anniversary
Dodd Vs. Kennedy: What EdWeek Leaves Out
Mathews Begs For Assistance

Best Of The Rest
What You Missed From Last Night's Speech
Rotten Apples Of 2006
A Teacher Uses The N-Word -- Over & Over

MLK Day: I Have Been To The Mountain

Welcome, diligent holiday readers. There won't be much of any blogging today, but if you haven't read the Katherine Boo article in the most recent New Yorker (see this post from Friday to get an overview), that's your MLK Day assignment. (Unfortunately, it's not available online.)

Or, if you're feeling nostalgic, watch the YouTube video of MLK's I Have A Dream speech:

Or, if you want to learn a little bit about modern-day civil rights politics, you can check out this article via the Huffington Post on how Barack Obama is getting a cool reception from civil rights groups.

Friday Thanks

Thanks to everyone who's offered congratulations (and even criticisms) this past week or so and helped make sure folks knew how to find me in my new home (so far, so good). These include

Joanne Jacobs Free-linking and thinking by Joanne Jacobs
NCLB: Let's Get it Right!
The Education Wonks "The time has come," the Walrus said..."--- Lewis Carroll
Sherman DormnWork to understand how schools have been social institutions
Intercepts A listening post monitoring education and teachers' unions.
School Me! Adventures in education
Eduwonk.com Education news, analysis, and commentary.

Thanks also to Jeanne McCann and the rest of the online crew at EdWeek.org, who has made the switch as smooth and painless as possible.

School Reform In Denver

If you want to give yourself a real weekend treat, pick up a copy of this week's New Yorker and check out Katherine Boo's long feature on efforts to turn around the Denver Public School system and improve the lives of some Latino students at the infamous Manual High School.

The piece, called Expectations, looks like the usual in-depth and insightful work we get from Boo, albeit all too infrequently. (I like to think that, given time and space, I could do as good a job as this (or Paul Tough's recent NYT Magazine piece), but it may well be that my bloggified brain couldn't do nearly as well).

The piece doesn't, thankfully, focus inordinately on the involvement of the Gates Foundation, whose failed efforts to smallify Manual made the school the poster child for the failings of the Gates efforts over all. Instead, it focuses on a group of Manual students and the superintendent who's trying to make things work differently. I haven't gotten to the end but wanted to make sure folks had chance to find it before it leaves the magazine racks. It's not online, far as I can find. The issue date is Jan. 15.

UPDATE: In a very kind email, Boo writes "Thanks! And let me return the compliment.I became a fan of your blog over the course of this story."

This Week's Business News

Longtime readers of this site know that education is a business, with billions in transactions that involve vendors, management companies, consultants, and universities. Pretending that it's not -- that "public education" is entirely public and that there's a bright line between it and the private sector except for vouchers or charters -- doesn't do anyone any good in the long run. It just means you don't know what's really going on, for better or worse.

This concludes the sermon. Click below if you want to read about a tiny online publisher buying a giant old-school publisher, about tech deals gone sour in Detroit, and about how they got 50 percent of the parents participating in SES in Indianapolis.

UJPDATE: Chalkboard's Joe Williams gives context on the privatization uproar reported in today's NYT here.

Continue reading "This Week's Business News" »

Conservative Fears Of NCLB Expansion

I'm not sure that NCLB is at the top of conservatives' list of concerns right now, but it's interesting to see (in the Washington Times via the NH Insider) that concerns about the law from the right are just about the same as concerns about the law from the left.

"Some conservatives on Capitol Hill are worried that President Bush will cut a deal with Democrats that would not only renew his education law, but also dramatically expand it, including perhaps more requirements for the high school level."

Bush-Democrat alliance on education law feared

Best Of The Weeklies: NewsBlast, Gadfly, EdWeek

Over at the PEN NewsBlast, there are some measured thoughts about improving NCLB (but not abandoning it), and some links to stories about public attitudes towards spending on education (the public wants more!), the Petrilli about-face on NCLB, multilingual children, and the growth of NBC teachers (now nearing 8000). Over at the other end of the political spectrum, this week's edition of The Gadfly includes the aforementioned telephone interview with me (see Russo On The HotSeat) and a critique of EdWeek's "chances of success" index. Meanwhile, EdWeek reminds us that it's not just NCLB that's up for reauthorization, but also Head Start (Head Start Renewal Back on the Agenda in New Congress) and the HEA (Higher Education Act May Finally See Action).

Morning Round-up January 12, 2006

New score for young city musicians CSM
The federal No Child Left Behind law identifies the arts as a core subject, but so far it's only holding schools accountable for reading, math, and science. Berklee College of Music, Carnegie Hall and the Juliard School are reaching out to offer free education.

Report: Broader Skills Best for College Grads EdWeek
As the federal government begins to nudge the higher education system toward greater accountability for student learning, a report outlines the skills college graduates need to be successful in the global economy.

Study: Testing keeping some teachers from using news as much in class AP
A Harvard University study says 75 percent of the teachers they surveyed have cut back on current events. They blame a lack of time on preparations for standardized tests required under the federal No Child Left Behind Law.

Florida NEA Funds Rod Paige, & More

K12networklogonew If you subscribed to Marc Dean Millot's New Education Economy, you'd already know about a new report from Eduventures on SES that describes how providers "hang on the whims of parents."  You'd know that the Florida teachers union (an NEA affiliate) gave Rod Paige's new outfit, the Chartwell Group, start-up funding via its pension fund investments. And you'd know which states made requests to modify their SY 2006 AYP calculations.And if you got his K12 Leads report, too, you'd have RFPs and other info coming out of your ears.

Afternoon Update

Governor: N.C. has more board-certified teachers than any other state
Twelve percent of North Carolina's 11,325 teachers have reached National Board Certification, making it the tops in the nation in that respect, according to the governor's office. American City Business Journals/Charlotte, N.C.

Va. district may refuse NCLB test for ELL kids MSNBC
Fairfax County school officials are protesting a federal mandate that would require them to give most English-language learners reading tests that are as rigorous as those taken by students already proficient in English.

Students barred from bus for speaking English CNN
A school bus driver let Rachel Armstrong's three children board the bus Monday morning, but he warned them that he wouldn't give them a ride home that afternoon, nor could they ever ride his route again. The problem: Armstrong's 10-year-old twin girls and 8-year-old son speak English.

Mathews Begs For Assistance

The Washington Post's education columnist Jay Mathews is at it again - soliciting reader input for his columns. If fact he is begging readers to help him identify the best middle schools in the DC-VA-MD area and any middle schools across the country that have "spectacular results or very unusual methods." You may notice the trend. Mathews just wrote a column about the best education blogs in which he solicited reader nominations. It's very web 2.0 of him to solicit "user content" as opposed to traditional news-gathering. But then again, Mathews has always done things a little differently. Go, Jay.

Russo On The HotSeat

From all the laughter in the background, I think Mike Petrilli and Rick Hess must do some mid-day drinking as part of their weekly Gadfly Show. Not that there's anything wrong with that. In fact, being on the show was a lot of fun, and they were kind and open-minded to have me on despite my being an early critic of the podcast (and generally skeptical about podcasts that aren't This American Life or the latest episode of "Lost"). They asked about how this blog came to be at EdWeek (I pitched it to them), and about whether I've changed my mind about the do-ability of national standards (not yet), about why I'm so bad at math (my Montessori education), and why I'm so harsh on Andy (I'm a bad person). Here's last week's episode (audio): Average Yak Poundage. The new one will probably be up later today (Thursday).

Learning From Their Mistakes

"Learning from your mistakes is a well-accepted practice in the world of commerce -- even a celebrated one," begins Ben Wildavsky's article in today's Wall Street Journal. "But the same mindset has yet to penetrate the philanthropic world, according to insider-turned-analyst Joel Fleishman....Why? Because, he says, they are arrogant, secretive and insular; they latch onto fuzzy, trendy initiatives without ever evaluating the results; and, above all, they resist transparency and accountability."

Hmmm. Remind you of anyone who jumped boldly into the education mess around 2001? Me, too. However, it has to be said that the Gates folks have done a much better than usual job of admitting what wasn't working and adjusting their efforts over the past year or two.

What You Missed From Last Night's Speech

Here's the speech that we wish the President had given last night -- not about sending more troops to Iraq but rather about more gold stars for our nation's schools. Via The Onion.

Bush Earmarks 1.5B Gold Stars For Education
"Vowing to give the nation's public schools "a much-needed boost," President Bush announced Monday that his 2003 budget proposal would allocate 1.5 billion gold-star stickers for education."

Caption reads: "Bush holds up a Dayton, OH, fourth-grader's gold-star-adorned book report on Ferdinand Magellan."

Dodd Vs. Kennedy: What EdWeek Leaves Out

Lynn Olson's article on the Dodd and Kennedy national standards bill (New Bills Would Prod States to Take National View on Standards) helpfully explains the similarities and differences between the two proposals and tries to tease out their prospects of enactment and background dynamics.

However, the article leaves out two key facts: Kennedy's bill was dropped -- coincidentally or not -- the same afternoon that the Dodd announcement went out, and -- I'll say this as long as I have to -- Eduwonk Andy isn't really the best (most dispassionate or knowledgeable) source to comment on this. Click below to read more.

Continue reading "Dodd Vs. Kennedy: What EdWeek Leaves Out" »

Gates Enters The 2008 Campaign

Earlier this week, I told you about a new Gates/Broad Foundation initiative to bring education to the forefront during the upcoming elections. Well, it turns out that it's true -- and that it was first reported in a squib in US News:

Job No. 1: Fixing Public Schools
Sen. John Kerry isn't the only rich guy campaigning against the woes of education. But Microsoft's Bill Gates and KB Home's Eli Broad, along with their combined foundations, are doing it with more diplomacy and fewer insults. We hear that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Broad Foundation have teamed to make public education the "it" topic in the 2008 race. And the big-time philanthropists are doing it in campaign style, with ads in Iowa and New Hampshire that begin right after Election Day. Their pollster, Frank Luntz, tells us that the nation is hungry for a solution to poor schools and would welcome a push to force all 2008 candidates to present a fix-it plan.

Based on how long it took to get a response out of them, the Gates folks don't seem like they're ready to say much more than that. Maybe they're still annoyed at me for breaking the news that Tom Vander Ark was leaving.

Morning Round-up January 11, 2006

Michigan: University to Comply With Ruling NYT
The University of Michigan acceded to a federal appeals court decision and said it would immediately comply with the state's new ban on affirmative action.

In Education Debate, Congress Must Talk Money NPR
One of the issues the new Congress will deal with is the renewal of the No Child Left Behind Act. Commentator Andrew Rotherham says that any reconsideration of education legislation will need to consider changes in the way it is funded.

Teacher fired over artwork AP
An art teacher whose off-hours work as a so-called "butt-printing artist" became widely circulated among high school students has been fired.

Advertisement

Advertisement

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in This Week In Education are strictly those of the author and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Scholastic, Inc.