One of the most interesting of the 20-something mostly irate comments on my Huffington Post article claims that Shanker doesn't deserve credit for unionizing the teachers because David Selden was the true visionary and was replaced by Shanker in a power struggle along the lines of Stalin and Trotsky. Hmm. Guess I skipped that chapter in Kahlenberg's book.
Speaking of which, Kahlenberg says I got it wrong. He writes: "I don't agree that "few" of Shanker's ideas were adopted. Standards and charters were two big ideas he was very involved in pushing -- though I'd concede that neither worked out as he envisioned. The NBPTS is a pretty big idea that he promoted. Peer review exists in 30 districts -- not enough places, but enough to keep some pressure on. Entry level teacher tests are tougher than when he started. So I think it's a mixed and evolving legacy on ed reform...I think Al Shanker would have found a way to bridge the divide between the standards groups and teachers, which would have forced NEA to modify its positions."
The mainstream news in Chicago is finally starting to pay formal attention to District 299, my group "watchdog" covering the Chicago Board of Education and its nefarious doings: Education bloggers keep careful eye on CPS.
After last Monday's success, The CTA is continuing its effort to make sure that the Miller NCLB draft is slowed down and/or modified substantially with an event in Northern California today (see details below). As before, I'm not sure just how coordinated this is with the national -- as happened with the Katrina vouchers, I'm told. Or perhaps they're playing good cop, bad cop. On strategy, I've noted before that Miller may have overplayed his hand by including TEACH. But it occurs to me also that the unions may have done the same by pushing to expand local assessments and multiple measures, which Miller included in his bill. There's some priority-setting here that I'm not sure makes sense.
Schools, colleges underreport crime Stateline.com
Schools and colleges across the country do not report crime and violent incidents on campus consistently or accurately. Via EdNews.org.
Parents seek ban for 7th grade book Chicago Tribune
Several dozen parents at a Southwest Side Chicago public school are calling for school officials to ban a controversial book they say is filled with references to sex and violence.
Alumna Gives $128 Million to High School NYT
Events originating in Warren E. Buffett’s rejection from Harvard Business School have led to a gift to a Quaker private school that dwarfs some college endowments.
Click below to continue...or go here to read the full-length version from The Huffington Post.
Here's my incomplete and completely unverified list of campaign education staffers for the top Dem. presidential candidates:
Thanks for any additions or corrections.
Here's the video that everyone's watching, in which a confrontational student is eventually tasered by campus security after begging not to be:
You know you want to see it.
"The story begins at an assembly last fall, when a black freshman asked if he was allowed to sit under a large tree on school grounds that he had heard was "whites-only." From The Nation, via School of Blog.
UPDATE: Presidential candidate Barack Obama is being called out for his mild response to the Jena students being arrested (Politico).
Erik Robelen's piece in EdWeek on small schools research recaps and deepens what most of us realized a few years ago: converting big high schools into small ones without making them truly autonomous doesn't necessarily get you very much, and there are tremendous pressures against autonomy in that kind of setting. That's what the Gates folks learned the hard way. Etc. None of it worth noting except then it occurred to me that the highly-anticipated (though not quite done) breakup of Locke HS in LA into Green Dot schools is in many ways just the same thing, except that the small schools are going to be charters. Is that enough of a difference? The researcher I talked to yesterday said probably not. Have other places experimented with charter conversions? Not that I know of.
Two schools of thought on ‘No Child' Politico
“We’re trying to ratchet up support and get other state associations to mobilize their constituents in the field. We are in attack mode.”
Learning from Long Beach schools Los Angeles Times
The city's school district is again recognized as among the nation's best. L.A. should take note.
Florida Teachers Slap 'F' on Bonus Pay Plan TheLedger.com
The Florida Legislature's new and improved teacher merit pay plan may have passed with grudging union support, but teachers still don't like it and some school districts have declined to participate, turning down millions of dollars in state bonus money.
Student arrested, Tasered at Kerry event AP
Video of police Tasering a persistent questioner of Sen. John Kerry became an Internet and TV sensation Tuesday, generating fierce debate about free speech and the motives of the college student involved -- a known prankster who often posts practical jokes online.
Having successfully fixed our nation's campaign finance system, Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) is rolling up his sleeves to help fix NCLB. Thanks, Russ. I'm sure the committee staff appreciate your jumping in like this. Not that I was ever particularly nice to committee staff myself. Yes, of course, they should have taken your language into their bill. Every Senator's prerogative, etc.
Former Miller staffer Charlie Barone weighed in a few days ago with an optimistic-sounding post on the DFER blog about how -- despite the flaws in Spellings' implementation of NCLB and Miller's draft proposal -- the two might rise above the fray (or just plow through it) in order to get some good things done as they had in the past (Special guest blogger).
I hope he's right. But, based on current events and my own small understanding of what it's like to work with the teachers, I'm not feeling so hopeful right now. First off, there's a long history of teachers (esp the NEA) fighting with Miller despite his deep support for their work -- on EdFlex, on class size reduction during the Clinton administration, and on NCLB's infamous HQT provisions, and now on the TEACH Act. When it gets down to it, even the AFTies are pretty hard core (AFT Michele the other day wrote "what's good for teachers is good for children"). Meantime, the teachers in LA are threatening to block the transformation of Locke high school into small union charter schools, despite strong support within the Locke faculty and a vote of the elected school board approving the change earlier this month.
Kozol holds fast to 'No Child' protest USA Today
The former teacher and author of books such as Savage Inequalities says he has lost 29 pounds on a mostly liquid diet.
As Duties Grow, Principals Face Mounting Pressures NPR
Faced with a principal shortage, many districts are creating mentoring programs to train their own talent, but the programs are showing mixed results.
Reading, Writing and Internet Safety NPR
Virginia is the first state to require public schools to teach Internet safety.
Hooked on mnemonics Christian Science Monitor
How I "learned" Spanish in a weekend by free association.
"Super-blogger Alexander Russo is jealous that he sold his independence for a paycheck and is now under Edweek's corporate jackboot," writes D-Ed Reckong in this update, apparently having mistaken my compliment for an insult. I actually like how harsh his blog posts are sometimes -- they're bracing and contrarian. Of course, the idea of George Miller being a "whiny bitch" is funny, considering how big and bruising the guy is. And the the idea of my being under EdWeek's "corporate jackboot" would be of concern if it weren't also sort of funny. Have you met those guys, Kevin? They're all in Tevas and Crocs. So stop being a whiny bitch and get back to tearing apart bad research. I'll try and do the same.
Good vs. evil is rarely all that interesting, which is why internal conflicts -- the nemesis in the other cubicle, "frenemies" and underminers, siblings, hipsters vs. yuppies, Jon Stewart vs. Stephen Colbert -- are so much more fun to watch. Nearly everyone has a nemesis -- whether he or she realizes (or admits) it or not. Usually it's someone nearby.
Note: Some of these are made up.
No Child Left Alone Weekly Standard
Reformers are busy people, tireless people, whose displeasure with the world as it is inspires them to improve the lives of their fellow human beings no matter what, and they get cranky when you bring up the law of unintended consequences.
No Child Left Behind needs lift, not a recess Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Among the worst ideas: Basing accountability decisions on test scores in subjects other than math and reading. Proponents presented studies that show schools have increased the time in math and reading to the detriment of other disciplines, such as science and social studies.
Revisiting the Canon Wars NYT
Two decades after Allan Bloom’s “The Closing of the American Mind,” it’s generally agreed that his multiculturalist opponents won the canon wars.
Alabama Plan Brings Out Cry of Resegregation NYT
fter white parents in this racially mixed city complained about school overcrowding, school authorities set out to draw up a sweeping rezoning plan. The results: all but a handful of the hundreds of students required to move this fall were black — and many were sent to virtually all-black, low-performing schools.
Rookie Chicago Principal Faces Early Challenges NPR
Like Chicago, many other school systems across the country are facing the same turnover, as baby boomer principals near retirement age. And for the rookie principals, challenges come early and often.
Raising the Scores: For a School, Hope and a Fresh Start NYT
With the support of the teachers union, Newton replaced 6 of its 44 teachers — some against their will — with teachers who demonstrated a higher commitment to change or who had expertise needed in a particular subject.
If you're not already sick of the NEA-Miller story, there's a new Klein-Hoff EdWeek piece up online today that fleshes out some of the events of the past week. Included are not only the whole he-said, she-said about the TEACH Act language that you probably already know, but also some interesting tidbits like how the NEA made sure to have folks from each of the House ed committee members' districts at the Monday hearing, the toe-the-NEA-line responses of some Dem House members about the issue.
That leaves two questions: Why did Miller include the merit stuff in the first place, and what's going on between the NEA and CTA? I don't know if Miller had to include the merit pay stuff to have any chance of McKeon's support, or for other reasons. But fighting the merit pay thing and revamping the AYP system at the same time (and comparability) continues to seem to me to be biting off more than necessary. Or I'm missing something -- Miller puts in the merit pay stuff just to give something for the NEA folks to focus on, hoping to preserve the standards and accountability provisions. Let me know if you've got it figured out.
Once again, Kevin DeRosa at D-Ed Reckoning outdoes my in the nasty negative category, calling the House education chairman a "whiny bitch". Basically, he doesn't like Miller's draft, and thinks Miller is carping too much about Spellings' disapproval. And you thought that I was bad.
I was supposed to show you the Kanye West's Ed In '08 promo, which apparently is getting lots of YouTube attention, but was so bored and disappointed by the spot -- perfunctory, obvious, unimaginably forgettable -- that I needed a jolt of West's live performance at the VMA of his new song, Stronger -- whose opening chorus (see below) might actually be a good anthem for Ed In '08.
N-n-now th-that that don't kill me, can only make me stronger.
I need you to hurry up now, cuz I can't wait much longer.
I know I got to be right now, I can't get much stronger (wronger?)
Man I been waiting all night now, that's how long I been on you.
I need ya right now. I need ya right now
No Gifted Child Left Behind? Time
Nearly half of lower-income students in the top tier in reading fall out of it by fifth grade.
Thompson: Leave No Child Left Behind behind Baltimore Sun
Today, Fred Thompson, the former senator from Tennessee and television and film star who has entered the campaign for the Republican Party presidential nomination in 2008, suggested that it's time to leave No Child Left Behind behind.
Early-Education Advocates Face Tougher Sell EdWeek
Early education conference provided an opportunity for advocates to push preschool as an economic investment.
Austin moves forward with teacher performance pay plan Austin American-Statesman
Nine schools selected to be in pilot group this year. Via EdNews.org.
Seething with indignation (if, as usual, not entirely making sense), here's what Andywonk has to say about his love of Hoff, my loose grasp of time and space, etc: Hoff, Russo, & Interns.
Then, in practically his next breath, Andy swoops in with a late, long, and obvious post about the NEA and Miller. Oy. Who's paying for him to do this, again?
UPDATE: Andy takes note of this post but doesn't seem to recognize that the "I must be right" bit (above) is a lampoon of his always-rightness, not a tantrum on my part. You got that, I know, but I'm adding brackets and quotation marks to help out the others.
Previous posts: An "Emily's List" For Education?