A quick spin around the block before I head out in my Reading First costume to get as many razor-filled apples as I can find:Where the Democratic Candidates Stand on Child Care and Preschool. Meanwhile, Charlie Barone writes from his hidden lair about educational triage and NCLB: Is the NCLB "Bubble Kids" Theory About To Burst? The AFTies win the best headline of the day award for their post about how NCLB is affecting Chicago area schools: Give Us Growth Models...Or The Nation Will Explode. EIA Mike keeps tabs on the NEA's anti-voucher budget in Utah (NEA Contribution to Anti-Voucher Campaign Is... $3 Million). Speaking of vouchers, Joanne Jacobs links to a story about progressive parents who send their kids to private schools (Voucher hypocrites). And, as you know, it's Halloween. What a good day for the Carnival (Let's Carnival!).
"The Texas State Library and Archives Commission spent 18 months and canvassed more than 170 agencies and public colleges and universities, checking on all the reports they are assigned to do.The commission found more than 1,600, and state records administrator Michael Heskett is pretty sure his team hasn't found them all." (State report: Texas has too many reports)
Eduwonkette is at it again -- and I love it. She's got mad Photoshop skills (or at least knows how to cut and paste), and has me and Andywonk dressed up as peas in a pod. It isn't pretty. I'm not sure how that would work, since co-existence is required. I was hoping for me as K-Fed and Andy as Britney. But this will do. Check it out.
Sick of being told that scores are going up when you think they're really not? Well the cat is soon out of the bag, for 11 big urban districts at least (Atlanta; Austin, Texas; Boston; Charlotte, N.C.; Chicago; Cleveland; Houston; Los Angeles; New York; San Diego; and Washington, D.C.). A couple weeks from now the latest reading and math scores are coming out for some of the country's biggest districts. Called the urban NAEP, or TUDA, the new data will include trend lines going back to 2003, linked to NAEP. Based on NAEP data, not all of the nation's biggest cities are doing as well as their superintendents and mayors claim.
Within the next few hours (or days, as the case may be), this blog is going to move to a new home on another site. I'm going to keep posting here for a little while longer until things are ready over there but just wanted to let you know. An opportunity presented itself and I decided to make the move.
It's been great working with the EdWeek.org folks, most especially the site's ME, Jeanne McCann, who has been incredibly helpful and patient. (We bloggers are a temperamental lot, it turns out.) And of course Ginny Edwards, the head honcho. EdWeek built me a great-looking page, with lots of functions and features, and promo'd me on the front page (and in print) nearly as often as my mother bugged them to. The number of readers has gone up tremendously. The overall experience has been excellent.
Where the blog is moving is something that I hope to be able to announce as soon as tomorrow morning. I'd tell you now, but it would be confusing since nothing's there yet. Starting tomorrow, you can check here to see if there's anything new, or check This Week In Education. See you soon!
Hello, India? I Need Help With My Math NYT
In a new wave of the global outsourcing of services, personal chores are moving offshore, and this is leading to some daunting challenges, both economic and cultural.
On Education: Classroom of the Future Is Virtually Anywhere NYT
There is no blackboard and no lectern, and, most glaringly, no students in the university classroom of the future.
With World Growing Smaller, IB Gets Big EdWeek
Amid heightened concern about preparing students for a global economy, the academically demanding International Baccalaureate program is catching on fast in U.S. schools.
From ONN The Onion News Network:
Live From Congress: Representative Wants To See, Meet More Kids Online
Standardized high school exit exams put states to the test USA Today
Twenty-two states have some type of exit exams; four are phasing them in. But the tests are proving controversial. Maryland has delayed exams by two years. The state Board of Education meets today and Wednesday to decide whether to move the date again.
School Issues Vary on States’ Ballots EdWeek
Voters will decide some notable education- and child-related questions when they go to the polls next month.
Elementary Absenteeism AP
Absenteeism among children in the early-elementary grades is highest in kindergarten and has a positive correlation with poverty, says a study.
Libraries luring students with coffee AP
Coffeehouses are springing up in high school libraries around the country, marking a departure from the days when librarians prohibited food, drinks and talking. School officials say these shops are promoting reading by attracting teenagers who might not otherwise hang out in a library.
Grand Rapids Press
Katie Messina teaches to a sea of bobbing heads. Messina first experimented with using balls as chairs six years ago in another school, where her class included seven second-graders with attention deficit disorders.
There's been a recent lull in any real NCLB reauthorization news since Kennedy's folks put out the boring parts of their discussion draft and the rest of the Hill was focused on appropriations. But the AFTies report that Ted Kennedy is back on the march and The Hoff (how come that guy never links to me?) says that the House links have gone dead. Next thing you know, the lights will go out, a door will creak open, and Margaret Spellings -- face lit from below with a flashlight -- will cackle like a witch.
Last week I linked to an article that mocked education research as a circus, to which some understandably took offense. Here's a recent ASBJ article on the same topic that may be more balanced but is no less scathing (Politics and Research). Advocates have learned to attack research methods ever more swiftly, even as research has gotten better, some say. Think tank "research" has all but eclipsed academic research in the policy debate in Washington. Not that better research would make a difference. Remember class size? Politics, budgets, ideology, and -- my favorite -- personal experience -- trump even the best studies. But there are a couple of folks out there doing good work, we're told -- not the usual suspects.
Lincoln Caplan provides us with some impressive new numbers in his recent Slate magazine article on Wendy Kopp's Teach For America: Almost $500 million raised, a goal of 4,000 new teachers per year by 2010, a 98 percent acceptance rate, annual revenues nearing $120 million (up from $10.5 million seven years ago). Caplan names TFA the country's largest reform effort in the K-12 education space.
To be sure, Caplan alludes to some of this. He refers to the TFA "fable." He points out that no one has yet written a major investigative take-down of the organization (someone has, actually, it just hasn't been published yet). He jokes that depending on who you talk to, TFA is either Google -- or Enron. But Caplan's main focus is how TFA is shaping up to be a powerful and self-sustaining nonprofit institution. Mine is whether TFA is -- or will anytime soon be -- shaping up to have anywhere near as big an impact on public education as its accolades (and revenues) suggest.
South's schools swell with poor kids News & Observer
For the first time in more than 40 years, the majority of children in public schools in the South are poor, according to a report released today. In 11 states, over half of students live in poverty.
A juggling act on No Child Left Behind Los Angeles Times
As Miller pushes to renew the landmark education law known as No Child Left Behind, he faces so many fights that the fate of the bill is increasingly in doubt.
Bush greets teen who told Pa. authorities of school attack plan AP
Bush greets teen who told Pa. authorities of school attack plan.
One-Tenth of High Schools Are 'Dropout Factories' AP
There are about 1,700 regular or vocational high schools nationwide that fit that description, according to an analysis of Education Department data conducted by Johns Hopkins for The Associated Press. That's 12 percent of all such schools, no more than a decade ago but no less, either.
Disabilities Fight Grows as Taxes Pay for TuitionThe New York Times
Without Justice Kennedy, the court split 4 to 4 in a New York City case on whether Tom Freston, the former chief executive of Viacom, should have put his learning-disabled son in a public school before sending him to a private school and seeking tuition reimbursement.
Obama slammed the Bush administration for not properly funding No Child Left Behind, saying he'd rethink the system to include art and music and more creative pursuits that foster student's imaginations, as well as emphasizing early childhood education. (When the student who asked the question seemed unimpressed, Obama replied, "What more do you need, Mike?," before assuring him that students for whom English is a second language would not be penalized under his revised system.)
PLUS: Richardson: Teachers should get minimum of $40,000 a year AP
Teachers should get minimum of $40,000 a year
A quick spin around the edusphere to see what looks interesting: Scott Elliott from Dayton says that there's a Big Obama education plan coming in November.I can't wait, though I'm not particularly hopeful. It's going to take lots more than a new education plan for Obama to catch up to Clinton. The New York Times' newest blog cracks wise about schools' efforts to de-fang Halloween celebrations: "The parade included a devil with no pitchfork, a Power Ranger without a laser blaster and a pint-size Batman who had been told to leave his utility belt at home." (Are We Having Fun Yet?). Reacting to a post I made last week, Kevin Carey from the Ed Sector says that Time writer Cloud's characterization of education research is exaggerated and, frankly, kind of obnoxious: "What a shame that education research doesn't enjoy the pristinely empirical, de-politicized, consensus-rich environment that characterizes debates over tax policy, entitlement reform, and other issues studied by economists like Martin Feldstein."Meanwhile, In These Times has a piece about how a two year-old split within the labor movement has affected union organizing not nearly as much as predicted: Has the Change Led to Wins? Last but not least, the Times has a fun article about parents being asked to pay for kids' Internet games: Pay Up, Kid, or Your Igloo Melts.
A Whole School Left Behind Washington Post
But in Como and other poor, rural districts around the country, the law's regimen of testing and sanctions has had little, if any, effect.
Minnesota Plan Gives Scholarships for Child Care NPR
A new initiative in St. Paul, Minn., aims to make high-quality early childhood education more accessible to low-income residents by providing scholarships. The program is the brainchild of an economist who says it will save the state money.
Lead exposure, crime seem to correlate USA Today
For decades, researchers have known that lead poisoning lowers children's IQs and puts them at risk for severe learning disabilities and more impulsive, sometimes violent behavior. New research increasingly suggests that lead also affects long-term juvenile and adult crime rates.
A Principal Who Cracks Down on Stress NYT
Some administrators are pushing back against an ethos of super-achievement at affluent suburban high schools.
Teachers & Teaching
An Oversupply Of Under-Qualified Teachers
Teachers Behaving Badly, States Ignoring The Problem
Teacher Suspended For Graphic Book Recommendation
From Happy Welcome To Jail Mug Shot
EIA Mike finds that not everyone on the left likes Al Shanker (Tough Lefties). I bet famous people wished they had control over what schools get named after them (Colin Powell charter school to close). Eduwonk mocks the AFT for incoherence and more (Terry Moe Hamstrings The AFT). Whitney Tilson has questions (Media myths about the Jena 6).
Plus some news stories I missed from earlier in the week:
Team targets struggling students Palm Beach Post
3 Catholic Schools Ask Not to Be Changed to Charters Washington Post
Child Care Workers in New York City Vote to Unionize NYT
Newark Teenagers Embrace Lessons in Perseverance NYT (Freedman)
Experimental School Gets Rid of Classes, Teachers NPR
Federal project tries to make it easier for schoolchildren to walk AP
Jacket Lets Parents Keep Track of Kids AP
Ouch. The article also dismisses the latest Jack Jennings public-private differences study as Democratic advocacy, pointing out that private schools run by holy orders (not regular religious schools) make a difference on student achievement, and that SAT scores do show public-private differences even after you control for SES. Apparently SAT scores reveal critical thinking, while regular old achievement scores just track rote memorization.
Student's death likely caused by staph infection CNN
A middle school student from Brooklyn died Thursday, probably from the staph infection MRSA, according to the New York City Health Department.
Video shows student shooting 2 victims at Cleveland school AP
His face concealed by a white hooded sweat shirt, the determined student gunman climbed the enclosed staircase with his cache of weapons in a backpack, heading toward a shooting rampage against classmates and teachers.
Pitching for preschool, with eye on future Washington Post
For Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D), improving access to preschool is a signature issue. In 2005, he ran for the office on a platform that pledged to provide universal access to preschool for the state's 100,000 4-year-olds.
Education Plays Diverse Role in 2007 State-Level Elections EdWeek
Control of one or more houses of the legislature in Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, and Virginia will be decided next month.
The earliest roundup of education stories each day usually comes from EdNews.org, anywhere from 4 am onwards. My own "Big Stories Of The Day" supposedly shows up at 9 am Eastern. But there are a bunch of others that come out later and are often better, or at least complementary.
For example, EdWeek's own "Today's Best" features some great stories that I miss. Recent examples include:
You know you've really arrived as a blogger (or are going to hell for being a bad person) when someone wants to find out who you are and sue you for libel. That's what's happening in one Oregon district, where, according to EIA Mike, the local union president is so disgusted and upset by what's being said about her that she's trying to force Google to reveal the blogger's identity so that he or she can be sued.
Last night's Colbert Report interview with the founder of Craigslist included much discussion of DonorsChoose.org, the organization that links donors and individual classrooms directly:
If you're wondering why the DC education blogs are so quiet today, it's because all the best-dressed education folks are gathered at a big AEI event on the supply side of school reform -- the "intriguing and daring" reformistas who are attracting all the attention (and funding) despite their small scale, mixed results, etc. Check out the agenda and the papers here.critique of AEI in Slate here. While not focused on education particularly, Noah claims that most of the Bush administration's worst ideas have come from AEI. Noah also tells the story of AEI's rise into a more ideological, glamorous think tank (past Heritage and its liberal counterpart Brookings) whose so-called scholars are everywhere on the pundit and media circuit.
According to entrepreneur Maria Botham, lice infestation is the #1 reason for school absenteeism, and on average it costs the U.S. public school system over $500 million every year: Gold Standard for Lice Removal Opens in Lincoln Park. Via Yahoo! Finance.
School Chief’s Embarrassment Is a Lesson for Itchy E-Mailers NYT
“Please go KILL these people....Please, please, please.”
Senate Reverses Bush's Cuts to Education, Health as Veto Battle Looms Edweek
Senate gave bipartisan approval to a spending bill that totals over $600 billion and reverses a raft of cuts sought by Bush to special education, health research.
Ideals meet politics in public schools debate Tribune (opinion)
Kozol would require states to authorize and finance a student's right to transfer from a failing district into a successful school in a suburban district.
Science courses nearly extinct in elementary grades, study finds San Francisco Chronicle
The third-graders looked puzzled when asked what they liked best about science. No answer. Via EdNews.org
A year of decision for six high school seniors CSM
The Monitor follows the months-long college-application process for six diverse students. Part 1 of two.
Media watchdog Jim Romenesko reports about what happens when satire seems too real in high school (Principal confiscates papers). He also points to a recent headline saying that 25 percent of South Carolina teachers are sexual predators (Paper apologizes for hed on AP's bad teachers story). Oops! EIA Mike says that the California teachers union has its own problems (Labor Challenge).CTA Goes Multimedia). USA Today's Richard Whitmire makes the case that preschool is the new NCLB for presidential candidates (Preschool vs. NCLB). I'm not buying it, but it's an interesting idea. The Hechinger Institute's Liz Willen is blogging about her son and more (Middle School Muddle). At least it's not another EdWeek blog. Last but not least, from The Onion: Diabetic Child's Survival Hinges On Contents Of Piñata.
It was great to be back on the Hill yesterday moderating a New Teacher Center event in Dirksen. Some of the faces have changed, but not much else (the abundance of Diet Coke, the abundance of cheap suits, the hidden bathrooms, etc.). Miller Title II guru Alice Cain and I reminisced about being newbies on the Senate side all those years ago when she was with Simon and I was with Feinstein. (Then she doused me with coffee -- a welcome back blessing, I like to think.)
I also met some newer folks I knew by name or email -- Steve Robinson from Sen. Obama's office, Seth Gerson from Reed, Adam Ezring from Miller, Missy Rohrbach from Kennedy. Lots of folks came up and said hi (Crystal Rosario from CCCR, for example), or to talk about the blog or about back in the day when Rena Subotnik and I were trying to hold the ed schools' feet to the fire (and failing).
On the substantive side, I learned that not only are Reed, Kennedy, and Miller (among others) interested in stemming the dropout rate of new teachers that causes so much trouble, but that there is already some Title I language in the Miller draft that would make teacher retention efforts required for schools that don't make AYP. There's been so much attention on revamping AYP and the measures used to determine it, but much less (by me, at least) on the new set of required activities for schools that fail. And until now at least it seems that retention has been much less of a front-burner TQ issue than recruitment or evaluation, despite an estimated $7.3 billion in turnover costs.
Ed. Dept. Requires Changes in Race, Ethnicity Reporting EdWeek
Schools must update as needed their method of student-data reporting to the Education Department no later than the 2010-11 school year—one year later than was announced when the guidelines were proposed last year.
A Chance to Dream NYT (opinion)
The Senate has a chance today to pluck a small gem from the ashes of the immigration debate by voting for the passage of the Dream Act.
Expulsions show racial disparity Post and Courier (South Carolina)
National and state statistics, as well as data from other local school districts, show that black students were suspended or expelled at a much higher rate.Via EdNews.org.
Band Teacher’s Abuse Scars Family, Splits Community EdWeek
Immediately after news of one teachers arrest hit in January 2005, people began questioning the girls' motives: Why didn't they come forward sooner? Were they really telling the truth?
Noose Sent to Black Principal at Brooklyn School NYT
The hate crimes unit of the Police Department is investigating the delivery of a noose along with a racially charged letter to the principal of Canarsie High School.
Schools Put Tastes to the Test in Bid to Provide Healthier Lunches PBS
Many U.S. schools are pouring new resources into efforts to provide lunches for students that are both tasty and health conscious. Fred de Sam Lazaro reports on the strategies being employed in St. Paul, Minn., schools.
In the email interview below, Reeder describes what he found, how he found it, how Illinois compares to other states, and why his little paper can pull off this kind of investigative report when others stick to day-by-day reporting with a lot less depth or intensity. Want to know what it's like to interview a teacher who molested children? Check it out.