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¡Ask a Mexican!

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Some people love The Mexican. Some hate him. But no one can deny his word is spreading. Two years since I last blogged about him (Only Gringos Call Gringos Gringos, Gabacho), he's in two dozen alternative weeklies and has a book coming out. As this NYT article describes (The Mexican Will See You Now), The Mexican is everywhere. Click below to see a list of questions about kids and parents and schools that I wish The Mexican would answer.

Continue reading "¡Ask a Mexican!" »

Crayon Shoes

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To increase its appeal to younger school children, Nike is making “Notebook” Dunk High, “Elmers Glue” Air Max 90, and the “Crayon” Vandal High shoes. Leave it to them to make sure that no shoe marketing angle goes untapped. The Biz Of Knowledge wonders whether the kids will fall for it (Nike Designs Shoes to Go to School). I say yes, or their parents will. Previously on Shoes: Roller Shoes: The Lawn Darts Of The New Millenium

Citizen's Commission On Supreme Court Decision: Deseg Not Outlawed

Here's an email from CCCR honcho Dianne Piche that highlights the idea that yesterday's decision doesn't make it illegal or impossible to promote school integration:

"All programs that consider race in order to foster diversity have NOT been outlawed. The votes were 5-4 against the Seattle and Louisville school districts AND 5-4 in favor of legal principles favoring diversity. This so-called “split court” is not unlike the famous “Bakke” decision in the late 1970s, where the Court struck down an affirmative action policy with respect to admissions to the University of California-Davis medical school, while at the same time setting forth legal principles enabling some forms of affirmative action to be preserved."

Read the full email below [a letter to Piche's grad students].

Continue reading "Citizen's Commission On Supreme Court Decision: Deseg Not Outlawed" »

Is Student Violence Necessarily School Violence?

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Something like 34 school-age children in Chicago have been killed in the past year, and the deaths have created a lot of media coverage and political posturing along with serious concern. Here, Chicago Tribune columnist Eric Zorn asks whether CPS officials and the media should be linking the deaths to the school system or not, given that many of the deaths were not on or near school grounds (Should we be counting the violent deaths of Chicago Public School students?). For some reason, the fact that these children all went to Chicago schools has helped galvanize attention. It's a tough but good question, both from a media perspective and politically. Others may disagree, but I don't think it takes away from the seriousness of the children's deaths to think about it.

Big Stories Of The Day (Friday June 29)

Teachers Target Bush's No-Child Law for Change Under Democrats
``The American public and educators agree -- Congress needs to change No Child Left Behind,'' said association President Reg Weaver, a former middle school teacher.

Charter schools booming in the suburbs Philadelphia Inquirer
Once found almost exclusively in urban centers with dismal academic options, charters such as Renaissance - located in a bucolic corner of the solid-performing Phoenixville Area School District - have become increasingly common in the suburbs.

Phila. to Keep Outside School Managers One More Year EdWeek
Experts who have been closely monitoring Philadelphia’s experiment with outside management were divided on exactly what lessons it is yielding for educators.

12 Ways to Childproof Your Kids' Summer and Avoid Trips to the ER US News
As children burst into the long, lazy days of summer-on wakeboards, roller coasters, and all-terrain vehicles-parents may want to bone up on precautionary measures.

Wall To Wall Desegregation Coverage, With Some Variations

By and large, the papers play the desegregation decision pretty straight: "Thursday's Supreme Court ruling on school diversity reinterprets the venerable Brown vs. Board of Education decision" (Fracturing a landmark LAT).

Some of the wall to wall coverage took a slightly different tack: Don't Mourn Brown v. Board of Education New York Times. "With yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling ending the use of voluntary schemes to create racial balance among students, it is time to acknowledge that Brown’s time has passed." Or: Brown v. Board of Education has not been overturned (Wall Street Journal): "The end of this first full term of the John Roberts-Samuel Alito Court presented no sweeping departures, instead hewing to the incremental conservative judging that was its hallmark this year."

You want more?
Across U.S., a New Look at School Integration Efforts NYT
Court Strikes Down Racial Criteria in School Diversity Plans PBS
Link to Google News 900 stories about the Supreme Court decision.

Fordham For, Then Against Muslim Charter Schools

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Only at The Fordham Foundation would they resolve an internal dispute by having Checker Finn, THE Gadfly, write a "letter to the editor" to The Gadfly, the publication he edits. And it's not the first time. "As a fairly regular Gadfly reader, I often find myself nodding in agreement at the wisdom and insight that it delivers," begins Finn's letter. "But I also feel obliged to point out the occasional blind spot..."

Supreme Court Strikes Down Deseg/Diversity Plans

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I can't bear to think about it, and probably don't have anything interesting or new to say anyway, but here are more stories about the Supreme Court's deseg decision than you could ever hope to read, courtesy of Google News.

Raking In The Online High School Sports Dollars

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Things are sure heating up in the world of selling high school sports online. In an effort to compete with sports news sites like ESPN.com and social networking sites for athletes like Takkle.com (which most of us have probably never heard of), Yahoo! last week bought Rivals.com, a giant high school and college sports site, according to the NYT (here). But that's just the latest. Two weeks ago, the paper ran a story about the growth of online high school sports sites like Takkle.com and maxpreps.com, which ranks high school athletes from all over the country.

Gates Foundation Advocate Over-Involved In Texas Contracts, Report Says

Over at the Dallas Morning News, Josh Benton's got the drop on some apparent misdeeds at the Texas Education Agency. No surprise there, except that the misdeeds may include the Gates Foundation (TEA: Agency officials got friends contracts). It's no secret that the Gates folks of late have been getting involved in state-level advocacy work. A reasonable strategy, I'd say. But their Texas guy, Jimmy Wynn, seems to have gotten over-involved, shall we say. Via EdNews.org.

While we're on the subject of foundations and nonprofits, there's a new report from the Urban Institute that some would do well to read: Insular Boards Guide Many Nonprofits. "Many nonprofit boards are cut off from the public they serve by an ethnically homogeneous membership and a failure to engage in externally oriented activities," according to the report.

Online Bullying Goes Big Time, Depending How You Define It

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One in three teens report being cyber-bullied, according to a recent study -- most commonly by having private emails forwarded by someone else or shared publicly as form of harassment or embarassment.

Worst Security Guard Ever

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"A former middle school security guard pleaded guilty today to holding a student captive in his house for 10 years and forcing her to have sex with him," according to this horrifying ABC News story (Man Pleads Guilty to Holding Girl Captive for 10 Years ). "Thomas Hose, 49, was sentenced to a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison, but he could get out after only five years, his attorney told ABC News." That's less time than the girl was imprisoned, the story notes.

Reauthorization? We Don't Need No Stinking Reauthorization.

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EdSec Spellings' increasingly fleshed-out ideas about a new AYP system described in today's USA Today have at least two obvious purposes. The first is to remind the public -- and Congress -- how much more they'll like the "new" NCLB, which ostensibly will have growth models, tutoring before choice, and all sorts of other bells and whistles that folks have been clamoring for since nearly the start. A "just missed" category for schools missing AYP by a subgroup falls into the same category, and helps Spellings make the case that NCLB should be reauthorized before it's too late (ie, politics takes over). But it also reminds us that Spellings has made all sorts of changes to the law without any statutory changes -- waivers, pilots, back-room deals. Could she implement this latest notion without a new law? If so, it won't be long before everyone realizes: who needs a reauthorization?

Big Stories Of The Day (June 28)

Spellings favors wiggle room for schools USA Today
The U.S. Education Secretary has proposed a way of evaluating schools that would differentiate between schools that are close to meeting state standards and those that are underperformers.

Union to Help Charter Firm Start School in the Bronx NYT
A charter school operator from Los Angeles [Green Dot] is seeking to expand into New York with the cooperation of the teachers’ union. PLUS: Patrons’ Sway Leads to Friction in Charter School

Study: Federal Tutoring Helping Students AP
Taxpayer-funded tutoring for poor children is paying off in some city schools, a federal study says.

Two school diversity cases: Same issue, with a twist CNN
The Supreme Court is poised to issue key rulings in two major cases involving diversity in schools.

"Help Wanted - Chinese Teachers Need to Meet New Craze"

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The Biz Of Knowledge comes up with an Onion-like headline to fit the current scramble for Mandarin teachers: Help Wanted - Chinese Teachers Need to Meet New Craze. Apparently the number of non-Chinese people studying the language is projected to increase from 30 million to 100 million within the next four years, and there is already a bit of frenzy going on in American schools that want to offer the language and need qualified teachers.

Blogging...On Facebook

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In the search for more readers (customers), political candidates, marketers, and bloggers have all been trying to get themselves into the fast-growing "social networking" worlds of MySpace, Friendster, and Facebook. That's where all the eyeballs are. So we'll see what happens now that blog posts from this site are also going to be cross-posted on Facebook. Not much, I'm imagining. But Ed In '08 is there -- 1,200 members and counting -- and EdWeek, too.

Students Explain Torture Letter Delivered To President Bush

Watch three of the 50 Presidential Scholars who signed and delivered a letter to GWB during the Monday NCLB event:

Or, if you're more into text, read an explanation of what happened and why here.

Scandalous Mead Video Surfaces On The Internet

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Here, Rory from Parentalcation digs up further evidence of the Yglesias-Mead love alliance in the form of a "scandalous" home video of Mead posted by Yglesias on his blog earlier this year. The content's nothing new -- Mead going off on Baby Einstein -- but watching her talk about it, and knowing that there's a relationship between the two makes it slightly cringe-worthy. In a good way.

Weekly Education Column Showdown: Closing A KIPP

The weekly showdown of national education columns between the Post and the NY Times goes to the Post this week in large part because the Post column is about K12 issues and KIPP (KIPP's Mysterious Tale of Three Cities ) and also because I don't really care that much about higher education or free speech (Film Portrays Stifling of Speech, but One College’s Struggle Reflects a Nuanced Reality). Mathews explores why one KIPP school in Maryland is closing, while others have thrived. Most of the blame seems to get ascribed to the locals, of course, rather than what I suspect is also part of the problem: growing pains and rapid expansion.

Over-Reaching On NCLB Predictions At The Washington Post

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Everyone's hoping that newbie education reporter Amit Paley (left) turns out to be a great addition to the national education beat, and indeed he's done some good, analytic work in recent months. But this latest piece (Ex-Aides Break With Bush on 'No Child') seems like a reach -- at best an effort to make news rather than cover it and at worst a preconceived notion slapped onto circumstances that don't quite fit. If Karl Rove or Rod Paige came out against NCLB, now that would be something. And if Congressional conservatives being upset about the law was new, or growing, that would be something. But Gene Hickock, Ron Tomalis, Brian Jones, and Gerry Reynolds complaining about the law (and EdSec Spellings) doesn't really seem compelling. Eduwonk is somewhat gentler but generally of the same sentiment here.

Big Stories Of The Day (June 27)

States Urged on Teacher Qualifications AP
Even as states are erecting barriers that could prevent qualified people from teaching, they also are making it too easy for unqualified people to get in, the report says. Just three states - New Jersey, New Mexico and New York - require new teachers to pass such [licensing] tests before entering the classroom. Many states give teachers one year to pass, but 20 states let people teach for three years or more without passing, the report says. PLUS: Read the full report with all its maps here.

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Blacks in Fairfax, Montgomery Outdo U.S. Peers in AP Washington Post
Black students in Montgomery and Fairfax high schools are far more successful in Advanced Placement testing than their peers in nine of the 10 school systems in the nation with the largest black populations, according to a Washington Post analysis.

Editorial: Three Bad Rulings NYT (editorial)
The Supreme Court hit the trifecta yesterday: Three cases involving the First Amendment. Three dismaying decisions by Chief Justice John Roberts’s new conservative majority.

A Letter From The AFT Blog Summer Camp About Questionable Bush Claims

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AFT John writes me a stern letter from the AFT Blog summer camp to remind me that the President's claims about increased test scores due to NCLB have been around -- and hotly disputed -- for a long time, especially on the AFT blog. Thanks, John. I knew it sounded fishy, but I had forgotten.

Roller Shoes: Lawn Darts Of The New Millennium

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Everywhere I go, I see kids scooting around on these rollershoes (left), which seem to be more popular than ever -- almost always without a helmet. And it occurs to me that soon enough there will be a spate of stories about how the shoes lead to injuries (some already here) and we'll all wonder why anyone ever let them be sold. Just like lawn darts from 20 years ago. Remember lawn darts?

Presidential Scholars Chide President On Human Rights

Forget NCLB. The new class of Presidential Scholars apparently decided to put a little heat on the President in his own house, according to The Cheese Sandwich blog (The Kids Are Alright), calling on him to end torture and illegal detentions, among other things.

Paris Hilton & School Choice

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Pop culture-school reform mashup of the week (so far) goes to Joe Wiliams for linking Paris Hilton and school choice.

"Paris Hilton Released From Jail...Meanwhile, millions of American students remain locked up in schools that aren't getting the job done while the Democratic party stands watch."

Read the rest at Joe Williams' DFER blog.

Denver Schools Story Wins Big Praise (Again)

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Every year the Chicago Tribune puts out a list of Our 50 Favorite Magazines, and this year's not only includes some good mags but also some great education writing: "Katherine Boo's story on the closing of one of the worst high schools in Colorado wasn't just challenging and moving, it was absolutely riveting - and a reminder that, if other magazines have more bells and whistles, the New Yorker has, pound for pound, more quality writing and reporting than anyone around." As you may recall, Boo's article on Manuel High School appeared last winter, and I posted about it here.

NCLB Making AYP, Says President

While most of political Washington is up in arms about the VP declaring himself not a part of the executive branch, there are still education events on the calendar. As you can see, the President's remarks at this one (video here) include the standard fare (yay, NCLB reauthorization, yay TIF and STEM). Perhaps the most dramatic claim in the President's remarks was as follows: "During the most recent five-year period on record, nine-year-olds made more progress in reading than in the previous 28 years combined." That one's new to me, and a little hard to believe. Someone's going to have to fact-check that one. As far as shows of force go, this one seems pretty weak. McKeon and Castle are mentioned, but no Miller or Kennedy. Even the First Lady, recently enlisted to help with reauthorization, couldn't make it.

High School Student Takes On Fiery Newscaster Over Sex Ed Talk

We've all seen full-grown adults crumble and fluster when faced with hard-charging newscasters who disagree with their points of view, but give credit to this Boulder high school sophomore Jesse Lange who takes on none other than the firebreathing Bill O'Reilly over a controversial sex and drug talk given at a Boulder high school:

Great to see the kid's calmness fluster the host. If you really want to read more about this, here are some mainstream news stories.

TAP For TIF: More On Merit Pay Models

Last week I asked whether the TAP model was ready for prime time, and got a few interesting responses. Still trying to get up to speed, I asked the usual suspects about which merit pay models seemed to work the best and/or dominate the "market" and got some information that might be useful, or not:

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For example, there's a December 2006 Center On American Progress report on incentive pay models. There's a Linda Darling-Hammond report that scans the various models (Odden, TAP, etc.) called Recognizing and Enhancing Teacher Effectiveness. And there's a compensation handbook also from earlier this year (Odden). In addition, several folks also noted that TAP has been evaluated, albeit sponsored by them, and found to have positive results -- and that a new more independent study is coming out from Mathematica at some point in the near future. Also, many districts are using TAP for TIF because it includes PD, has career ladders, gives money to nearly everyone, and has essentially been approved by the AFT.

Big Stories Of The Day (Tuesday June 26)

Experts Analyze Supreme Court Free Speech Rulings PBS
The Supreme Court ruled to loosen restrictions on campaign ads and tighten limits on student speech Monday. Two law professors weigh in on what the rulings mean for the nation, and what they indicate about the justices' take on First Amendment rights.

PLUS: Supreme Court Backs Discipline of Student for Drug-Related Banner Ed Week

Ex-Aides Break With Bush on 'No Child' Washington Post
President Bush urged lawmakers yesterday to renew No Child Left Behind, his landmark education initiative, but one of his biggest political liabilities in achieving that goal comes from an unlikely source: his former aides.

Prepare for the SAT Test, or Play With Your iPod? Have It Both Ways NYT
Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions, a traditional test preparation company, is offering interactive programs for downloading to iPods with video screens.

Today & Later This Week

There's something on the EdSec's schedule today about "President Bush’s remarks on reauthorization of No Child Left Behind" at the White House. Then later this week on Wednesday there's the USDE's SES summit. And, on Thursday, NCTQ's Teacher Policy Handbook rollout.

Two Good "Time-Lapse" Education Stories

There are a couple of good examples of time-lapse education writing out there right now, including Dale Mezzacappa's Philadelphia Inquirer look at 112 inner-city kids who were promised a college education 20 years ago, what's happened to them since (left), and a look at the other "Say Yes" initiatives that are still underway.

Over at the NY Daily News, Erin Einhorn tracked down what had happened to 23 Harlem kindergarten kids over the past 13 years since 1994 (right), and found all but five.

Cristo Rey Schools Take Over The World

The first Cristo Rey schoolin the DC area is opening up this fall , according to Jay Mathews (UPDATE: Before School, A Cram Session on Work) -- a low-tuition private school model first tried out in Chicago 11 years ago and since spread to 19 other locations. Besides the fact that the kids work one day a week to help pay for their education, what makes Cristo Rey schools interesting is that they are one of the only private school models funded by a mainstream education philanthropy (in this case Gates). Here's a commentary I wrote about this for The Gadfly, and an article about the struggle to open a Cristo Rey in New York City a few years ago.

PDA In The Edusphere: Yglesias Vs. Iglesias

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In what can only be described as a public display of affection, wonkette Sara Mead gives a shout out to her "boyfriend" in her final TQATE post. (See Out Of The Frying Pan for background on Mead's move.) Yglesias (left), not to be confused with Enrique Iglesias, the singer (right), Julio, his father, or Trulio Disgracias, the great if occasional LA side band, is a blogger for The Atlantic Online. Still, not bad. We'll have to add them to the Power Couples list. Via Eduwonk.

Here Come Consulting Firms (Again)

Today's Washington Post has an interesting piece about the use of high-priced management consultants -- Deloitte, KPMG, McKinsey, Alvarez & Associates (of St. Louis and NOLA fame) -- in urban school districts, a good reminder that it's not just the policy wonks and think tanks that drive real live schoolpeople crazy. "Two dozen high-priced consultants have set up shop on three floors of the D.C. public schools' headquarters, wearing pinstripe suits, toting binders and BlackBerrys and using such corporate jargon as "resource mapping" and "identifying metrics," begins the piece (Big-Name Consultants Greeted With Wariness). "They come from big-name restructuring firms, and the city is paying $4 million for their services this summer." It's not just DC, of course. Chicago has used Boston Consulting Group on several projects, some of which haven't turned out particularly well. St. Louis and New Orleans have both used Alvarez, to mixed reviews. And, as the article points out, few of the consultants offer project management services or stay on to implement the plans that they make. Binders and powerpoints are all well and good, but making the plans work and building buy-in and capacity are the real keys.

UPDATE: The usually-insightful Kevin Carey mystifyingly defends the management consultant crowd by blaming incompetent management for DC schools' problems. A post written, perhaps, on a Blackberry.

America's Most Wanted: Teachers

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It's high season for recruiters, according to this article, especially those from growing districts. Watch out everyone. You think those military recruiters are bad.


"Rice said Clark County has been mining dwindling districts for teachers for at least 16 years. She said the head of personnel for Chicago public schools used to tease her that they had her picture up in the airport."

Big Stories Of The Day (June 25)

The Report Card PBS
NOW returns to Lafayette Academy, a charter school where students and teachers have struggled in the past school year with mismanagement [Mosaica] and a lack of resources. NOW also visits the fifth graders at KIPP Believe College Prep, part of a successful national charter school network called the "Knowledge Is Power Program."

Big-Name Consultants Greeted With Wariness Washington Post
Two dozen high-priced consultants have set up shop on three floors of the D.C. public schools' headquarters, wearing pinstripe suits, toting binders and BlackBerrys and using such corporate jargon as "resource mapping" and "identifying metrics."

The High School Kinship of Cristal and Queen NYT
Queen Bond and Cristal Pimentel found each other, seized opportunities and graduated from high school in the face of tremendous adversity.

School Officials Black Out Photo of a Gay Student’s Kiss NYT
Yearbooks for East Side High School in Newark were distributed with a black-marker splotch covering a photo of a student kissing his boyfriend.

The Best Of The Week (June 19-26)

Campaign 2008
Bloomberg Candidacy Would Bring Education Up

The Education Business
High-Tech Paycheck & Report Card Problems In LA and Chicago
NCLB Tutoring: Not Working, Or Just Not Working Miracles?
PLUS: Sylvan Sued

Policy Watch
What Do People Really Think About NCLB?
Internal Differences: Preschool, Choice, and More
Jay Mathews On Michelle Rhee: Didn't I Just Say That?
PLUS: "What’s this Korean lady doing here?"

Foundations & Think Tanks
"Designated Survivors" At School Reform Confabs
Sara Mead: Out Of The Frying Pan And Into The Fire
Charter School Smarick Wins White House Fellows Spot
PEN NewsBlast Guru Rides Off Into The Sunset

Urban Education
Merit Pay Model Not Ready For Prime Time?
Franchising Magnets (Just Like Charters)
Boston Gets Memphis Chief; Balto Gets NYC #2
Severance Pay For Vallas Might Be $500K
PLUS: Vallas Ditches Own Going-Away Party

Media Watch
Colbert Loves NCLB -- Better Than Jon Stewart
"My Name's Emmet And I'm An Eduholic."
Mainstream Blogging's Perils & Pleasures
The Times Vs. The Post: Education's Weekly Showdown

School Life

High School Sophomore Marries Coach -- Parents Sign Off
When Celebrities Have Opinions (John Travolta Edition)
Top 10 Party High Schools In America
Parents, Kids, Librarians Get Ready (Potter Book Out 7/21)
The Worst Cheese Sandwich Ever

High School Sophomore Marries Coach -- Parents Sign Off

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The parents of a sophomore high school student say they tried to stop their sixteen year-old daughter from getting involved with a 40 year-old cross-country coach, but according to this story signed a consent form for them to get married. Read all about it, I guess.

And if you can't get enough of this kind of stuff, check out Teachers Behaving Badly, a blog dedicated to criminal other inappropriate things that education staff do. Yes, there's a blog for everything.

Quotes Of The Week: "What’s this Korean lady doing here?"

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Michelle Rhee (left) in the NYT about reaction to her arrival in DC: “I know what you’re all thinking. What’s this Korean lady doing here?” And, earlier in the week, EdSec Spellings on NCLB and President Bush in the Baltimore Sun: "If I do say so modestly, it is the jewel in the crown of his domestic achievements."

Sara Mead: Out Of The Frying Pan And Into The Fire

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Educationista Sara Mead (pictured, I think) is leaving the Andy Sector and heading over to New Dannenberg Foundation. Congrats, condolences.

Big Stories Of The Day (June 22)

Voucher Use in Washington Wins Praise of Parents NYT
Students who participated in a federally financed school voucher program did not perform significantly better academically but their parents were satisfied anyway.

ALSO: Voucher Students Show Few Gains in First Year Washington Post

Schools Await Desegregation Ruling Courier-Journal.com
With just 10 days left in its session, education and civil-rights leaders across the nation are anxiously waiting to see whether a conservative-leaning U.S. Supreme Court will end voluntary desegregation in America's public schools -- particularly those in Jefferson County.

ALSO: High Court Rules on School Athletics, Sentencing NPR

Merit Pay Model Not Ready For Prime Time?

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A reader wrote in today on my old blog -- perhaps in response to Sam Dillon's NYT article on the slow but steady rise of merit pay initiatives -- to share a deeply negative experience with one of the merit pay models that's being used in several places, the Teacher Advancement Program (now called NIET): "The TAP program was the worst thing to ever happen to my school," writes Smithie. "After 2 years, almost all experienced teachers left, including half of the TAP Leadership team...Additionally, the cost of the program is exorbitant. Off the charts."

Specific complaints aside, is it the TAP model that most districts are adopting with their TIF money, or are there other, better ones -- from Odden, or wherever? Have the different models been compared in terms of how they work? Or is there as yet no single model that seems to work "everywhere"?

Severance Pay For Vallas Might Be $500K

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Folks in Philly are understandably dismayed at the notion that the school reform commission there might give departing superintendent Paul Vallas a $500K severance package -- especially since he's leaving the district in dire financial straits and there's no requirement for any payment under his contract.

"Designated Survivors" At School Reform Confabs

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I'm wondering whether, when they do these all-star events, they leave a couple of folks at home just in case something bad happens at the luncheon and American's school reform movers and shakers are lost all at once? You know, like at the State of the Union -- to preserve the line of succession and all that. I think they're called designated survivors. Not sure who was given that job this time around.

"My Name's Emmet And I'm An Eduholic."

There's a new and aptly-named blog at Teacher Magazine called Eduholic, although it turns out to be just the new name for a blog that's been running on the site for a while by a guy named Emmet Rosenfeld. Welcome back, Emmet. Great name for a blog.

Internal Differences: Preschool, Choice, and More

Sara Mead over at TQATE gets the award for the most ambitious and attention-grabbing headline of the week with Preschool and School Choice Movement Leaders Combine Forces to Form New Pornographers-style Education Advocacy Supergroup, and for highlighting internal differences among various preschool advocacy folks (and similar internal differences among various choice/voucher groups). The whole supergroup thing seems like a nonstarter, but it's important not to mistake these movements -- preschool and choice -- as monolithic. Ditto for charters, standardistas, and everyone else, now that I think of it.

Big Stories Of The Day (June 21)

2300 schools face 'No Child' overhaul AP
Nationwide, about 2,300 schools are either in restructuring or are a year away, according to a database provided to The Associated Press by the Education Department.

Ed Department: states not meeting special-ed law requirements AP
Fourth-fifths of the states are falling short of federal requirements for educating students with disabilities, the Education Department says.

Teacher Turnover Costs Systems Millions, Study Projects Washington Post
An independent report released yesterday estimates that the high rate of teacher turnover in U.S. school systems costs more than $7 billion a year, with systems including the District and Prince George's and Fairfax counties hardest hit. (Also: Schools Have No Handle on Cost of Teacher Turnover).

Small Companies That Try to Bring Innovative Technology to Teaching NYT
A growing cluster of companies in the Northwest are looking to capitalize on educational needs.

Webcams Are Officially Not Fun Anymore USNWR
Some worry that the cameras are a little too Big Brother-ish. Paper Trail is more worried about a deluge of bad test-taking videos on YouTube.

Bloomberg Candidacy Would Bring Education Up

Over at the DFER blog, Joe Williams points out that if NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg takes the next step and enters the race as an independent candidate it will upgrade the debate on education reform since he'll be the candidate with the most of a track record on the issue (Viva Bloomberg?). For that alone, I hope he runs.

Colbert Loves NCLB -- Better Than Jon Stewart

Thanks to the Schools for Tomorrow Blog for reminding me that I had never posted the Colbert Report segment on states gaming proficiency standards from a couple of weeks ago:

Don't worry, it's still funny. And Colbert seems to have done a much better job than Jon Stewart of learning about (and blasting at) one of the law's not so intended consequences. (Remember, Stewart had EdSec Spellings on his show a couple of weeks ago and asked her softball questions with no follow-up.)

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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.